12/17/14

November 2000


November 1, 2000

Sunny, 44 degrees at 7:55am.

The 200th Annivesary of the White House is today. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is now openly calling himself a Democratic Socialist instead of an Independent. Former Republican Sen. Robert Stafford is calling for "civility" saying that all the Vermont legislature did when approving civil unions for gays "was to honor love between two people." Baystate Gas has been granted a 24% rate hike on its 220,000 customers because "the wholesale price of gas has nearly doubled." The movie industry has added about 10,000 new screens since the mid-1990's. Dowboro House Antiques is in Lochmere, New Hampshire.

The Springfield Newspapers are trying to attract paper carriers with ads asking, "Having Trouble Making Ends Meet?" The evening news had shots of third party candidate Ralph Nader at an enormous gathering on Library Mall in Madison with the Memorial Library and Historical Society in the background. I went out this morning at 9:30 and dropped off magazines at the Cohn's. He was seated at the kitchen table and she was standing and counting out pills. The Cohn's have installed grab bars on their entryway to facilitate getting in and out. I think she has more difficulty than he does. Both were cheerful and pleasant as always.

I went to the Bank of Western Mass where Maggi waited on me. I told her that my hatchway has never leaked where her husband fixed it and that pleased her. Maggi told me that the Light Up Boston Road campaign was being run out of the Eastfield Mall. I decided to stop at the Mall, where I got to know Ciro, an elderly barber who runs the Eastfield Barber Shop. He said he's been at the Mall 30 years, 25 over by Sears and five where he is now. He said in the hippie days business was bad, but now times are much better. He claims he still only does about three hours of work in an eight hour day. Anyway, I gave him $10 to point up my Mohawk and he did it much more nicely than the Sixteen Acres barber.

From there I dined on two burgers and fries at McDonald's and noted that the Mall is starting to decorate for Christmas. Their Christmas posters were made by DeForest Associates of Wilbraham. I left Eastfield at 11:20 and proceeded to ARISE. M. Bewsee was delighted by the photos I gave her. From there I headed to the Hungry Hill Stop&Shop and drove past Eamon's on the way. He has taken his lawn furniture in for the season but has raked no leaves. I was amazed to see that some Hungry Hill residents still have Asselin for State Rep signs proudly on display. Stopped at Savers and got two books, then over to Stop&Shop to buy the bargains. On the way back I dropped off some magazines at Mrs. Staniski's back entryway. Home by 2:15pm.

The FBI has concluded that Springfield does not discriminate or use racial profiling against blacks, but Mayor Albano says "perception is reality." Mayor Albano was on television saying that the corruption probe "doesn't involve any city employees at all," but he looked pretty uncomfortable saying it. Eamon called and said his phone has been ringing off the hook from his tape about the corruption scandals and Dennis Murphy refusing to testify against Albano, although he heard that Murphy may be fingering other people. Eamon hopes that the Feds will get Soco Catjakis, whom Eamon says has been involved in crooked real estate and other deals for years. Soco's son was involved in the Dollar Store scandal involving Roger Slate. One anonymous caller insisted that Dr. Negroni received a secret $350,000 buy out of his contract, while another anonymous caller said that Negroni intends to run for the State Legislature in New York.

November 2, 2000

Sunny and 45 degrees at 7am. Gas $1.57 at Breckwood Sunnoco.

The Boston Road Business Association is sponsoring the holiday lights along Boston Road. Mr. Cohn left me two copies of Biblical Archeology in a Chronicle bag. I also found a Moriarty for Governor's Council leaflet stuck in the clasp of my mailbox. I received a campaign mailing from him yesterday. Eamon left off a copy of American Rifleman with an article about Smith&Wesson. I weighed myself this morning and I weigh 195 pounds.

I decided to skip the South Church tag sale. While getting gas today, the black lady on duty laughed loudly at my purple hair and said it "made my day." She asked why I dyed it purple and I said that the new millennium is a time for changes. She agreed. Went to the Commerce 2000 event today and arrived at Westover at 9:45am. In all it was a nice event, but there are changes every year and generally I would say they had less to offer than in the past. This year there was no lobster bisque or roast beef on a bun. There were two booths passing out free popcorn, but I was surprised that Taylor Rental had none this year. I asked they why and they said they rented their popcorn machines to the ones currently giving it away.

CopyCat was passing out jelly beans in cups as freebies, a rather silly promo. I spoke with the Accountant from Moriarty and Primack in the Bank of Boston building and he told me he charges $90 per hour although you can find others who charge less. He said we once met at Mattoon Street which caused me to recall that he had been with the theater group, so we chatted about that. The Rotary and Kiwanis Club were seated at the same table, the Rotary person told me that they have over 700 members. Picknelly's restored antique bus was there, but I saw no one taking pictures of it.

I saw no signs of the Westover Development Corporation, nor the shapely blonde who was at the Community Chest booth last year. What became of her? I was also surprised to see no Springfield Newspapers booth nor anyone from BusinessWest. I was also disappointed that there were no piles of free phone books. STCC was there, but not Elms. WNEC and AIC was present, but no BeeGee airplane. Several people greeted me as Attorney Miller, but of course I had my name tag on. There were no clowns walking around, unless you count me with my purple hair.

Stop&Shop had free grocery bags and the restrooms had handicapped people working as attendants. The only law firm there was Skoler, Abbott and Pressor, represented by a young woman named Jo-ann Davis. I chatted with her briefly about my interest in legal poetry. I also spoke with Michael Harrington, a branch manager for Sovereign Bank in Westfield, who said he recalled seeing me interviewed by Tom Devine on TV40. He said I gave the impression in that interview of being someone who speaks rationally instead of passionately.


J. Wesley Miller being interviewed by Tom Devine in 1995

Francerea Maltese of the O'Connell Development Group in Holyoke promised to send me some material about her company. Pioneer Valley Christian School was there passing out literature. I told them I was opposed to all private schools because it removes from the public schools an important pool of students. The lady was left speechless and said nothing. My friend Jeff the Framer was there and I told him I saw his coupon on The Reminder. Buendo of The Reminder was there and greeted me cordially despite my telling him that I like the Valley Advocate better than his paper. Jack O'Neil was there and looked unhealthily thin. The Mayor of Chicopee was chatting with Mayor Ford of Northampton, and both said hi to me. I also spoke with Joyce Palazzi, manager of the Fleet branch in Chicopee. No sign of Hampden Savings.

In the afternoon I did some wash and mowed the lawn. I called The Fort today and asked the woman who answered whether there were any seats left for Joe Napolitan's talk tomorrow to the Valley Press Club. She asked for my name so I hung up, apparently seats are reserved based on who you are. On the noon news Albano was on saying once again that the corruption probe doesn't involve "any public employees whatsoever" and predicted that the probe will soon be closed. Eamon called and wondered why the top people in the legislature were never suspicious of Dennis Murphy. Eamon says his caller ID shows that his phone editorial today got four calls from the LaFiorintino Bakery, two calls form Ralph Santaniello, the discharged police employee. Eamon said Rep. Ben Swan also called, and lots of calls from people with Italian names.

November 3, 2000

Sunny, calm, 46 degrees at 7:15am.

A.G. Edwards is one of the oldest investment firms in the United States, founded in 1887. Elaine R. Cooper is Director of Admissions for Miss Hall's School in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The book I bought at Savers the other day Street Gangs Yesterday and Today by James Haskins (1975) has a grubby High School of Commerce bookplate in it. The book has the classic picture of Brando in The Wild One on page 91.

I am still owed thank you notes from Edwards Bookstore, Sheila McElwaine the library critic and Michaelann Bewsee of ARISE. Not doing too well on thankyous. I also still have not received my book on canings in Singapore, although I did get a nice letter from Gutterman. I also have heard nothing about getting a Buckingham Jr. High t-shirt. This evening, Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street Week broadcast their 30th Anniversary program from Carnegie Hall, but I missed it. On the news I did see Ann Hamilton from the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, who I recall spoke so candidly at the Renaissance Group gathering. She was on claiming how Greenfield is booming and they are installing elevators in some of their old buildings.

Did a load of wash yesterday and the dishes are all done. A few minutes after four yesterday afternoon Prof. Bradley came along in a black blazer trimmed with orange on his way to teach a class at WNEC. Back at the time of McCreech's funeral, I noticed that Our Lady of Sacred Heart looked rather bedraggled on the outside. Now it has either new or cleaned shingles and yesterday workmen were painting the ivory trim on the front of the place. The stucco walls are also clean, the tower has been spruced up and the cross looks like it as been gilded again. How did all this happen without me noticing it?

So I drove out today at 9:05am to the Trinity Church tag sale and was fourth in line. Melinda McIntosh was first in line and we had a good chat. She asked about the library sale at the Pine Point branch last month and I told her I missed it. The Kosiol's were there and informed me that the South Church sale was a real dud. Young Koziol told me that the Catholic Church has been getting a lot more strict lately. He also told me that Mrs. Gula used to send clippings whenever Bob accomplished something such as a piano recital. They visited Middletown (56 Sears) with some regularity and he remembered all the bric-a-brac on the shelves by the kitchen and said he used to wonder how Mrs. Gula kept them clean. He also recalled how they had a nook like in a diner.

The Trinity sale was okay, but they didn't have many books. I did get copies of the autobiographies of Nancy Reagan and Eleanor Roosevelt. From there I went to check out the remnants from the South Church sale, and there was little left. I did buy a Wellesley College picture book and The National Geographic Images of the World. Next I swung by Eamon's and dropped off some material, including a Baystate Gas bill he inadvertently gave me along with some magazines. He still hasn't raked his leaves. While I was in the area I decided to stop at the Kentucky Fried Chicken on Liberty and got a variety bucket for $8.99, which did not seem like a deal. Many of the tables needed to be wiped off and one had soda spilled on it. I mentioned they should be wiped clean and the Latino woman running the place nodded but did nothing to remedy the situation. On the way back I stopped off at Angelo's for a few things and got home at 11:45am.

Eamon called and said his leaf man came today at 2:45pm. Eamon complained that there was another erroneous article in the paper about Springfield's bond rating, which according to a phone call he made to Moody's is at Baa3, which is just above junk bond rating, something the paper did not make clear. Eamon said his caller ID showed that his cousin, former Mayor William C. Sullivan, called his answering machine editorial three times recently. He said Sullivan would be interested in his latest editorials, because Catjakis and Neal were aides to Sullivan and Dennis Murphy was an aide to Catjakis. Eamon says he always gets a lot of calls from barrooms, perhaps from those people who don't want to be identified by his caller ID. He says he is also getting a lot of calls from people with Italian names such as Tranghese and Santaniello.

November 4, 2000

Sunny and calm, 52 degrees at 8am.

George W. Bush is in the news for being arrested 25 years ago for driving while intoxicated in Kennebunkport. The case was leaked by a pro-Gore lawyer and there is much ado about whether it was right for the Democrats to hold onto the information until just before the election. Whatever the case, I remain ashamed of young Bush. In Brockton, Mass a judge has ruled that a 15 year old boy who was barred from school for wearing girl's clothing, including padded bras, wigs and high heels, can return to class. The local news voice on WFCR is a bass whose overtones are hard for me to hear.

I have been reading so much since Mother died that I sometimes develop eye strain. The mail brought a sweet note from Susann Muehlner of Colby Library, asking whether I had read Ann Tracey's book on cannibalism. This exchange raises all kinds of questions, but I will say no more. Also got a letter from Fleet Bank about their new safety deposit boxes and a flyer from The Judge's Chambers. I dined this evening on franks and beans with fruit juice.

I am preparing my essay on the Wesley Methodist Church Centennial Celebration. I hope to have a first draft done by Monday. I will send copies to the Bishop, to Goad and to Atty. Berman. I later called Mrs. Staniski to wish her well and she said that her daughter Ann is coming over today. I told her about the sale at Trinity, and she recalled how she stayed with Ann at The Colony in Kennebunkport, Maine in 1998. Mrs. Staniski said she doesn't remember the picture that hung in the dining hall of Wesley that was located beneath Fellowship Hall. It was a plain basement room, painted green with folding chairs and iron pillars. It had a picture hanging in it that I believe was of Anna S. Danforth. Mrs. Staniski said A. Danforth was the leader of the Wesley Church Ladies Club years ago. Dorothy Smith was the Office Manager.

Eamon called and said he has received mailings from Caidre at Elms but hasn't renewed his membership. He then recounted how his friend George David used to work for a brokerage house and made money on the side doing drop-offs for the mob. He'd get a call, sometimes in the wee hours of the night, to meet in some coffee shop where someone would give him some money, which he would then deposit in a special bank account in a local bank, he thinks it was at the Springfield Institution for Savings. Eamon complained that his brother Ray the Fire Chief was an intelligent fellow, but he also drank whiskey and did nothing about his high blood pressure. Eamon blamed "stupid Dr. Mudry" for Ray's death because the Doctor liked to talk with his brother about golf more than about addressing his medical needs.

Eamon then reminisced about how former Mayor Tommy O'Connor had been a star student, and was class president in high school and at Amherst College. He was also president of some prestigious legal group at Georgetown. O'Connor studied Greek as well as Latin and used to write notes with little bits of Latin in them. But Eamon feels that O'Connor sometimes lacked commonsense. He also smoked two packs of cigarettes per day and loved Johnny Walker Red. O'Connor used to buy Fords with a V-8 engine and had special racing tires on his cars. O'Connor thought nothing of driving 80mph on the highway, where he was never stopped because of his official government license plates.

Eamon's new editorial condemns the "dumbed down Irish of Hungry Hill" for sending mediocrities like Dennis Murphy to Boston. His caller ID shows that Dennis Murphy himself has called his phone editorials three times recently, with lots of calls also coming from The Tavern Restaurant, Sweet Life Foods and the County Courthouse. Eamon claims that the rumors that Murphy wore a wire for the FBI are not true. He also heard that the FBI has sent more agents to investigate Springfield. The probe involving Murphy is operating out of a RICO Federal Task Force in Worcester. The Feds suspect that Murphy has been being paid off by Michael Armitage of Berkshire Power, and that is how Murphy got his fancy new house. They are also looking into a possibly phoney trucking company put together by Murphy and Valerie Barsom to cash in on the Big Dig. I asked Eamon what he thought of Michael Armitage and he laughed and said he didn't really know him but observed, "I don't have to eat the whole egg to know it's rotten."

November 5, 2000

Overcast all day, 53 degrees at 1:30pm.

The Valley Advocate has endorsed Ralph Nader for President. Sally Field is 54. The Boston Road branch of Fleet Bank is located at 1724 Boston Road in Springfield. Maureen Turner of the Advocate once asked me whether I ever throw anything away, but the truth is I save just the best examples of the things I collect.

This morning I swung by Mrs. Staniski's to give her a Reader's Digest joke book and when I got there she was just returning with some books and Halloween candy. She said that later she would go to church. From there I headed to the Boston Road McDonald's and had a 99 cent Egg McMuffin and read the paper, after which I went to Pride in the Acres to make copies. While there I picked up a copy of Experience Travel with Carol Leary on the cover. When I left it was sprinkling out, but only briefly. Once I got home, I hung the butterfly shaped crystal light catcher in the picture window with fishing line. It was Mrs. Staniski's last gift to Mother and it makes lots of nice little rainbows all over the place. I also hung the Mt. Rainier painting over the sofa.

Next I called Aunt Maria's place and noted as I did so that out the window a lot of birds were gathering in the trees over to Mrs. Allard's. Shirley answered the phone. She is starting to be nicer to me, as obviously her opinion of me had previously been poisoned by things that others had told her about me. Shirley said everything is fine with Aunt Maria, who she said was watching skating on TV. I told her that I am sorry that I was born too late for rollerblades. Aunt Maria didn't go to church this morning because they were "running late" but they rarely miss it. We closed by agreeing that this will probably be a hard winter.

Evelyn Auchter, the widow of Bob Auchter, called at 2:38pm from Raymond Drive in Wilbraham. She said there were originally five Auchter brothers, but two died young. She told me that her husband died of breast cancer that had been diagnosed too late. One brother she said now lives in Texas and the other is a lawyer in Glastonbury. She claimed that she hasn't heard from John R. and his wife in nearly six months, but the last she heard they had sold their place in Monson and moved to Palmer.

While reading Experience Travel I noticed that it was riddled with grammar errors, so I called them at 565-6626 and John T. Shea answered. He told me he has a published novelist proofreading for him and I told him I would send him a corrected copy that he can "wave in the face of the published novelist if that novelist insists there are no errors." Reeds Landing is asking to be declared a charity so that it will be exempt from paying a $400,000 property tax. What a joke, then all the other retirement facilities would want the same. Reeds Landing is the high citadel of the local WASP aristocrats in their old age.

November 6, 2000

44 degrees at 8am. Gas is $1.53 at Watershops Pond.

Bush is leading in the polls, but Gore still has a chance. 150 Pleasant Street in Easthampton is offering artist's lofts for $350 per month. I took the front page of the Valley Advocate with their Ralph Nader endorsement on the cover and stapled it to the telephone pole on Birchland Avenue.

Went out today at 9:15 to the Big Y in the Acres. At the Wilbraham Road edge of the lot were parked four city street sweepers and an orange cab city dump truck #37269. I went into the Bank of Boston now Fleet and cashed my Woronoco check and got a $100 bank check for my Centennial donation to Wesley Methodist Church. When I got back to the car, the street sweepers were gone. From there I drove into Mason Square via Alden and saw that Fred Whitney has Bush for President and Yes on Question 3 signs on his lawn. The northeastern corner of King and Eastern Avenue has a fire hydrant painted with a red, white and blue flag motif that looks pretty good.

I drove down Hancock and back up State to Wesley Church, where a large blue car was parked with a steering wheel lock on it. I rang the bell and Secretary Arlene Mackie answered the door, short, chubby and impeccably professional. She was jovial, but I suspect she must be sad, lonely and depressed in her situation. I gave her my Centennial essay and check and she gave me a receipt. She also gave me the leaflets for the Centennial Celebration on the week of November 12-17 featuring The Reverend Dr. H. Ward Greer. The motto of the Centennial is "A time to remember and move on, as faith and hope are born again." I was also informed that the Wesley Christmas party will be held at the Westover Club located at the Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee on December 16th. McTye Blackwell is in charge. The Wesley office is about the same as it has ever been.

However, they had no posters or a Sunday program kicking around. They had a small bulletin board display set up for the Centennial, showing a picture of the old Wesley building and its organ with lilies all around it, plus an old Wesley Church program with an image of the entire church complex. That is their entire historical display, all held up with tacks thru them and no color images. I told Mackie that I was giving the essay to the Goads and she smiled and called them "the youngsters." As I left, I noticed some posters along State Street, so I parked at Walgreens and as I was gathering a poster in front of Rep. Ben Swan's office I decided to go inside. There were all kinds of free periodicals Swan gets from interest groups such as the building trades, higher education, economic development, the Watershed Council, ecology projects and lots of stuff I've never seen elsewhere. The black man at the desk was friendly and said I could take whatever I wanted.

Next, I drove over to Trinity Methodist where Barb Huber was on duty and she was very polite. She said the ministers were out at meetings. I also gave Huber some reading material for Mrs. Goad and noted that they should return my books some time, but no rush. I also advised her that their photograph of H. Hughes Wagner in the stairwell by the window is getting hit by direct sunlight that is fading the colors and that if they don't relocate it in ten years it will look hideous. I told her I don't feel it would be appropriate for Wagner to be the subject of a stained glass window and she smiled and said "there are a lot of people who agree with you on that." She gave me the Bishop's address and I told her, "I pick fights with everybody." She replied, "It's not fighting if you're right."

I continued downtown to the Telephone Worker's Credit Union to deposit some paltry dividend checks. From there I walked down Main Street, where a cherry picker was putting up holiday lights similar to Bright Nights on the front of the Peter Pan Bus Station. The PARAMOUNT sign has been replaced by HIPPODROME. The Johnson Bookstore Building now has an art display in both front windows by Donald Blanton's Distinctive Art Studio. The old Five Cents Savings Bank is the Democratic Party campaign headquarters this year. I walked in and they had signs and leaflets all around. By the desk I noticed three message folders. One said "Soco's Messages" which was obviously for Catjakis. Another said "Don Dowd Messages" whom Eamon told me is "an ass-kisser for Senator Kennedy" who lives on Hale Street in West Springfield. The third was for Kevin Kennedy, whom Eamon described in a derogatory tone as an aide to Richie Neal. On the desk was also a list of polling places and that was it. When I left, across the street at the corner of Court Square was a tall, young fellow with a Nader sign. I waved to him and he waved back.

When I came by the Federal Building there were ten demonstrators from the Hampden County Chapter of Mass Against the Death Penalty protesting against the use of the death penalty in the Kristen H. Gilbert case. I recognized Michaelann Bewsee and I came up to her saying, "Well, look who's here!" She smiled ebulliently and we exchanged pleasantries. I came through Baystate West and the tailor had a back in five minutes sign on his door. I called to the attention of Security Guard 2110 that the tile outside Russell's Photo in the main entrance way was elevated a quarter of an inch and someone might trip on it. He asked if I had fallen and I said no, but somebody might. His parting words were "I'll call Engineering." From downtown I went over to West Springfield to the Home Town Buffet for liver and onions. Riverdale Drive is dug up, but the traffic was flowing. The noontime business was good but not packed. On the way home I noticed that Cafe Lebanon on State is now the Bamboo Garden Chinese Restaurant. When I got home, I saw that my Moriarty for Governor's Council sign had disappeared. Maybe kids walking from Duggan had swiped it. Kelly had 27 bags of leaves by the curb.

Eamon called and complained that he never hears from the Knights of Columbus. He told me his City Hall sources tell him that Anthony Ardolino has cleaned out his desk and is no longer working in the Mayor's office. Rumors abound that Ardolino ran an informal dating service for local politicians, and Eamon believes that the corruption scandals in the city would get more attention if there was a sexual angle. Eamon said that his caller ID showed that Dennis Murphy called his phone editorial four times yesterday and three times today.

November 7, 2000

Cloudy, calm, 44 degrees at 9am.

The news had a story on a person speaking at WNEC who calls themself The Fun Nun and who says that laughter is good for you because it releases hormones that are good for your health. What would Sokol think of that? Tonight on TV22 they had a long segment on the Seuss statues. I noticed driving on Chestnut recently that the vacant lot where there was once an urn between the Museum of Fine Arts and the old WSPR building now has an immense hole with some round foundation in the middle. Susan Davison, the VP for marketing and development, was on TV saying that when Dr. Seuss came to Springfield over 14 years ago, the idea was raised of making sculptures in bronze. "Raised the idea" is very ambiguous as it doesn't make clear who had the idea, Dr. Seuss or someone else. Anyway, the sculptures are due to arrive in about a year and a half.

This year at Commerce 2000 I left virtually no cards behind because I consider doing so a waste of good business cards. I called the complaint number for Kentucky Fried Chicken today and spoke with Linda in Atlanta about my experience at the Liberty Street KFC and how it is inferior to the one on Riverdale in West Springfield. I told them how Liberty had a sign in the window advertising 10 legs and thighs for $7.99, but they weren't offering the special inside. The West Springfield KFC told me they don't even have that special. I also told how the tables were all dirty at Liberty and even when I told them politely about it when they had no customers, they did nothing to remedy the situation.

I took off the doorknobs into the living room and gave them a good cleaning, the first I suspect since we moved in. I sent a copy of my Wesley Centennial essay to Bishop S. W. Hassinger with a note that said in part, "Your predecessor was a good man, but in attending his appearances at Trinity, East Longmeadow, Florence and Ludlow, I heard the same sermon with the same anti-Catholic joke three times. If you are a Bishop, people will travel some distance to hear you and you can't use the same stuff over and over again." I also called Red Baron Pizza and told them that their deep dish pizza is mostly crust. They didn't ask who was calling. Next I called Claudia R. at Cat's Paw, who said she got the pictures I sent her. She said they are planning on selling their shop because the antique business is increasingly moving online and told me they have been in business for 14 years. I also called George Guizonis at A.G. Edwards to complain that the recent statement they sent me was confusing. Unknown called at 4:14pm.

Eamon called and told me that Steve Burke the fireman passed the bar exam and is sending a blistering letter to WNEC Law School complaining that they wouldn't admit him because they considered him unlikely to succeed, forcing him to log about 35,000 extra miles commuting to the law school in Boston that did accept him. There is a wonderful letter in The Reminder this week from Verne McArthur of the Coalition for Children's Library Hours about how Joe Carvalho from the Quad contacted Terry Regina and told her to discipline Duggan teacher Melinda A. Pellerin for urging students to become active in campaigning for more library hours. The letter says Carvalho's conduct "shows a serious disregard for free speech and education in a Democratic society."

I received an angry note in the mail today from the Rev. Cordella J. Brown of Wesley Church, returning the $100 check I sent them for their Centennial and dismissing my essay as "a diatribe." It read "Atty Miller, Enclosed is your check! Your essay shows NO RESPECT for us and our intelligence. We have done quite well assembling and disseminating to our congregation Wesley's history. Your diatribe is insulting! We are not receiving endowment funds for the Centennial. - Rev. Cordella Brown." Charming. She is obviously unfit to be a Methodist minister, the first that I have encountered locally.

Today was Election Day and I was the 753rd person to vote at 2:40pm. When I got back I left a Boston Herald in the Penniman's doorway and a bag of this and that at the Cohn's. I saw a white cat over at Kelly's. Someone called today urging me to vote and was identified on my machine as James Parent, whom I think I recognize as an educator from West Springfield. I told him I already voted 17 times and hung up. I spent the evening reading newspapers and watching the election results, which when I went to bed were inconclusive. Dennis Murphy was on TV40 repeatedly, giving his interpretation of the returns. I wonder if Eamon saw that?

November 8, 2000

A mild day, 44 degrees at 7:50am.

The presidential election is a big mess. Ralph Nader is denying responsibility for costing Gore the election. Nader got 6% of the vote in Massachusetts and 3% nationwide. Bush is trailing in the popular vote so if he wins it will be through the Electoral College. Whoever wins will have no mandate for anything. A recent survey says that what voters want most is politicians they can trust. George Stephanopolis on TV said that Florida is all in the same time zone, but the panhandle is Central Time. Marshall Moriarty lost his race pretty big but was on TV in front of the Civic Center as a Republican Party spokesperson.

The Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting House in Holyoke is having a Real Millennium Celebration on December 31 featuring DJ Brian Fowler. The Melha Shriners are on Longhill Street in Springfield. Sunday's paper had an ad by the paper saying, "The Union-News is your source for complete local and national results from the first election of the century." But of course we do not have complete results from the presidential race, so I called down to the paper and got Joan and told her that their advertisement was misleading and how could I get a refund? She politely dismissed me without seeing my point.

I saw an advertisement on TV for Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan and Blakeslee for insurance claims. Watercolorist Rose M. Simon of Longmeadow, who died last month, was the snob who went up to Mother at a Symphony Meeting some years ago and said, "I'm Rose Simon and whoooo are you?" Probably Mother was overly sensitive, but they did not make her feel welcome. Ms. Simon occasionally wrote letters to the newspaper and maybe ten years ago I sent a letter to her home telling her how she had hurt Mother's feelings but not to bother to reply.

I went to bed around one and was up at 4:30am. I drove out this morning to the Mobil in the Acres and Alex said he can do my car on Friday, suggesting I may need new transmission fluid. When I got back, I called the secretary Arlene Mackie at Wesley and told her that Rev. Brown is mad at me, but I am proud of my essay and sent the same thing to the Bishop. I told her that Wesley Church will hear no more from me, and I speak for a number of people who are still alive. I stressed to Mackie, however, that I consider her to be a nice lady and God bless you and hung up. Later, Unknown called and I did not answer.

I opened the breezeway after the noon stock market report and found my Oak Knoll book shipment on the doormat. The mail brought an invitation from Mayor Albano to the 22nd Tip Off Classic at $125 per ticket. Eamon called and he got a number of calls from prominent people today, according to his Caller ID. He received calls from Brian Lees, Western Union, Michael del Negro, The Civic Pub, Tony Ravosa, The Spirit Shop, John O'Neil, Stephen's Discount, The Key Program, Lillian Santaniello, Deezer Sullivan, Roger Barrett, Phillips at MCDI, Dennis Murphy and Brian Santaniello. He also said that he received a late night call from a public official who spies for him, saying that Dennis Murphy and Valerie Barsom are involved with a shady trucking company that bills the Big Dig $500 per hour for services that may be non-existent. The source told Eamon it is unlikely that Murphy and Barsom will be indicted as it would be too expensive to take the case to trial.

November 9, 2000

Sunny, calm and 45 degrees this morning.

Last night on TV57's Lehrer Report, Marvin Kalb was on and said that the way the media handled the election returns by projecting the winner in some states too soon "was a very large mistake." Mark Shields was on with him and said that Bush "seemed sublimely confident last night" until the awarding of Florida to him was retracted. Senator Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania intends to introduce a Constitutional amendment to dump the Electoral College saying, "The majority vote should prevail." I blame the Clinton scandals for Gore's weak showing. Although Clinton was not removed from office, the impeachment trial damaged the Democrats. What would be nice is an announcement from George W. that he wants to be remembered for doing the noble thing, and since Gore won the popular vote he is stepping aside for him. Ho ho ho.

The price of tickets to Disneyland has been raised to $49. The Masslive.com offices are on West Street in Northampton. Their motto is, "Where WMass lives on the web!" The Publick House Historic Inn and Country Motor Lodge charges $36 for their Hyland Orchard Dinner. For lunch today I had chicken soup and two grilled cheese sandwiches. Drove out at quarter to two solely to put the mail out at Louis & Clark. While there, I ran into retired cop Bobby Brown and we exchanged pleasantries. WFCR is in the midst of their seasonal fundraising drive and are boasting that they adhere to the "old fashioned journalistic values of substance, context and in-depth analysis."

Established in 1841, Springfield Cemetery was one of the first non-profit, non-sectarian cemeteries in Western Mass. It is located on Maple Street and James Mooney is the General Manager. I remember the spring following Mother's death I went on a tour of Springfield Cemetery and we stopped at the crematorium (it is a tad messy with boxes of medallions in the back) but on the whole it remains a lovely Richardsonian-Romanesque Edwardian space. I had a good chat with the workers and asked them if it is ever possible to be present for a cremation. Although I had been denied access to Mother's cremation, the workers said that many Orientals like to be present and frequently are. I wrote to Springfield Cemetery about it, but never received a reply.

I called Mrs. Staniski and she sounded unusually chipper. She told me she just got back from the doctor and feels quite good. She said Ann will be visiting on Saturday and thanked me for calling. Someone named Carolyn from Walmart called looking for Storrowtown Tavern. I chatted with her about legal poetry. That wrong number reminded me to call Time Design, where Anna connected me to the answering machine of Tony Bastos and I left word saying I've had too many calls for Storrowtown from them and I don't want anymore! I missed a call from Andrew P. Tieman. Unknown called at 12:24pm. I picked up and said, "If you want to be unknown to me, then I shall be unknown to you!" Silence on the other end so I hung up.

November 10, 2000

Overcast and 52 degrees at 8:15am.

At this point, I hope Gore gets to be president. Bush was on TV today, over-confident and with too much make-up on. I do, however, support the Republcan's demand that recounts be held in other close states such as Iowa and Wisconsin. It wouldn't surprise me if out of this mess we learn that the accuracy of election results in general are questionable.

A Massachusetts judge ruled yesterday that tattooing is an art form protected by the Constitution. A judge has also ordered the liquidation of New England Fidelity, according today's business page in the Union-News. There is also a story about how poor Tommy Burton lost the bid to buy a Fleet Bank building being auctioned off. It looks like the United Cooperative Bank in the Acres is moving into the old Heritage/Community/Shawmut/Fleet building - isn't it ridiculous all the names that bank has had!

I decided to forgo the first day of the St. Cecelia tag sale today and took the car down to Mobil and left it with Alex. It doesn't seem they have the business they used to, but they are no longer an inspection station. Alex will give the car a road test and be done with it by the end of the day. He drove me home, road testing the car he had in the bay, and I picked up the Union-News Extra that was under my mailbox in a purple bag.

I don't like the new A&P Food Mart circular that came in the paper. It has pictures of too much stuff, I refuse to read it all. Each item is presented equally by a picture in a square box with a price. I'm not going to read through all that garbage. I decided I would call somebody about it and I know their regional office is somewhere on Cooley where the pet shop was. I looked in the phone book but couldn't find it, so decided to call a Food Mart store. I dialed 796-3600 and got a tape saying I should "call back during normal business hours, Monday thru Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm." This was at 9:17am!

That answering machine was impertinent to me because it told me to call back during regular business hours and I was calling at the right time. I tried another store, the one on Belmont, and got Nancy and she had all the answers. She even agreed with my complaint about the circular. She told me the main office is at 419 Cooley Street in Springfield and the person I should talk to is Dianne Ryan. I congratulated Nancy on the excellent help she had given me. However, when I called I was told that Dianne Ryan is out today and was connected instead to Debbie O'Malley.

I gave O'Malley my name, address and phone number and reminded her that she was getting paid to deal with me, not I for dealing with her. Then I told her what a fine help Nancy had been. I said the new circular is very pretty, but because every food item is represented uniformly, I simply don't have time to read over all those offers every week. I said I preferred the old circulars that had only forty or fifty items, rather than a book of several hundred. We had a pleasant conversation, but the whole endeavor took up a full hour of my time. At the end she said she would send me a gift certificate and then thanked me for calling.

Next I called Ann Staniski at her mother's and we had a nice chat. I played for her over the phone my new antique Estey organ. She told me that the organ she plays at the Lutheran Church down in Boston is an old Estey, and that she has a wonderful choir to direct. The church is located just six minutes from where she lives. I reminded her that her mom's birthday is December 11th. Joe Zajac Jr. from the Masons called and wanted to get together to talk about membership, but I said it would be better for them to send me their literature first. He was calling from the Chicopee Lodge of Masons. Unknown rang once at 3:11pm.

At 3:54 Alex at 16 Acres Mobil called and said he fixed the transmission and break soles for $102.89. The car now seems to work fine. After leaving Mobil I stopped at the card shop and the guy told me they've been there nine years. He told me R. Crumb puts out a book of comix every year and that someone in Easthampton is still involved in the Kitchen Sink Press.

Eamon called and told me that someone who was being interrogated in the corruption probe refused to speak until threatened with jail. We talked a bit about the wonderful article in the Valley Advocate this week about Mike Armitage, showing how ex-City Councilor Raipher Pellegrino is now involved with Armitage and the Brunos. Eamon recalled how Judge Pellegrino was a nobody like Frank Freedman, and only got his job because he was in Lander's law office.

November 11, 2000

Veteran's Day. Overcast all day, 50 degrees at 8:10am. Gas in Wilbraham is $1.55.

It has been determined that Oregon went for Gore and Bush won narrowly in New Mexico. This whole election mess is absurd, but may do some good if it results in elections being held more professionally. It is ironic how we are having an election crisis considering how often Jimmy Carter has gone to countries to determine the fairness of their elections. Now the microscope is on us! Last night Mark Shields called George W. Bush "presumptuous and arrogant." I'll go along with that, off with his head!

The other day Eamon noted how Toots Nardi, brother of Willy and Uncle of Alphonse, was in the obituaries recently. The Best Western Sovereign Hotel is on Riverdale Street in West Springfield. Paul McDonough called wanting Storrowtown, said he was sorry. Debra Ehnstrom is the Admissions Councilor for the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. There was a single clump of red clover growing beside my driveway this summer.

I went to the second day of the St. Cecilia tag sale and did well on books. From there I drove out to my land in Wilbraham. The ranch house down next to Boston Road no longer has a for sale sign on it and the Larson house on Plumtree has a SOLD on their Lortie Realty sign. On the way to Fernbank I recalled how back when my parents were alive we would dig for mosses for a terrarium this time of year. The Maynard Road hill really is a mess. The buildings at Fernbank are secure, however, the little camp right on the edge of the river has open windows. The place next door had a blue car in front and a deep green truck as well. Next to the garden shack was a little black car and a cream colored car was parked besides a rowboat that was turned over for the winter. The place is starting to look like a used car lot.

From Fernbank I headed back to the city, where I got a sausage McMuffin at the McDonald's by Stop&Shop. Then I went to Food Mart where the 16 Acres Civic Association was having a food drive. There were clowns bending balloons. I told the person running the food drive how I sent some pictures to Chief Meara from her appearance at the Association, but never got a thank you note. In a cynical tone he said that Paula Meara never sends thank you notes. Food Mart is having a sale on luncheon meat at $1.29 per pound instead of $1.59.

No mail today because it's a holiday. When I got home, I sang Happy Veteran's Day to Eamon's answering machine and then put a pumpkin pie in the oven. Eamon has been changing his answering machine editorials more often lately. His latest raised questions about whether Mayor Albano has used campaign money to fix up his house. Eamon further criticized Albano for having Frankie Keough as "his key advisor." He also asks why corruption investigations in Springfield always originate from outside agencies instead of from District Attorney William Bennett.

November 12, 2000

An absolutely beautiful day. 60 degrees at 3pm.

The evening news says that Al Gore has a 218,000 popular vote lead over Bush. Chad is the name for the piece of paper that is punched out of a voting card. I think it is wonderful how this election mess is giving the Florida poll workers a lot of unexpected overtime. NBC News says that more than 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in the last 45 days. Why should the Palestinians do anything but fight on? Don's Plumbing and Heating was located in West Springfield in 1996.

I went out today from 9:45am to 12:45pm, three hours on the button. I stopped to have an egg McMuffin at the Allen Street McDonald's, then drove around the poor section of Winchester/Mason Square for some time. My goal was to find the black Masonic Temple so I rode around the Square noticing things. About 11:15am there were 48 cars in the Wesley Church parking lot. Meantime, St. John's Congregational Church was packed, there were signs at either side of Union Street that the street is closed to all but eastbound one-way traffic on Sunday from 8 to 2. Cars were parked all along the church side of the street, and across Hancock another parking lot with a guy in a security guard uniform was waving cars into the lot.

Alden Baptist Church looks beautiful with the church bricks cleaned and the windows restored. Not as mobbed as St. John's, but with lots of cars in the parking lot across the street. I went over to the old Friendly's, now long boarded up, and pulled down some posters. It is covered with them. Throughout the neighborhood there was brand new "affordable" housing, even some the church may own on Pendleton. Between Orleans, Tyler and Quincy is a large vacant lot where I dimly remember there being a brick factory building. In the back of the Tyler portion of this large, empty lot are two small units of government housing.

The old Paul Mason house at 175 Quincy still looks good, and directly across the street is a cute little cottage painted brown. Needs work, but a gem that deserves to be restored. A great variety of houses, some may go back to 1830 and certainly to 1850. There is restoration going on at 87 Quincy, and 22 Quincy is a very old house, perhaps originally a farmhouse. There are two cute 1880ish brick houses behind the Christian Science Church on Lillian Street, both in need of restoration. There is a fabulously restored hip Victorian at 59 Stebbens on the corner of Union, with a plainer Victorian at 53 Stebbens. Around the corner at 560 Union the tower needs restoration.

The Wesley Methodist sexton's house at the edge of Wesley Park is just as it was when Mr. Jones and the Bixby's lived there, but with black shutters and new front steps. There are churches all over the place, most of them in buildings that have much more character than the modern Wesley Church, such as the Freedom House of God at 563 Union Street. I finally found the black Masons building at 257 Tyler Street, called Lodge No. 5, opposite a three story house with no trespassing signs where white people were working in the yard.

From there I went to Angelo's and bought some nice things. Then I went to an open house at 81 Jonquil and I swear it is the same place where there was a miniature golf course out back and where I once attended a fabulous tag sale. The brokerlady told me that the current seller is moving to Wilbraham. It has a fully renovated attic, a half-basement playroom, finished and carpeted, a screened porch but strangely, no garage. The asking price is $119,514. On the way back I noticed that someone has put up Found Dog signs all along Wilbraham Road near WNEC.

I had Progresso Lentil Soup for lunch with lots of fruit throughout the day, then spent the afternoon writing to the Masons. I have an idea for a book which would begin with my letter to Paul Fulssel and then other key essays which when combined would constitute my autobiography. The news tonight showed scenes from a party the Springfield Journal put on to celebrate their merger with the Bravo arts publication. They also showed the art show at the Mill in Indian Orchard. The paper says the announcement of a developer for Union Station is imminent. We shall see.

November 14, 2000

Overcast and calm, 46 degrees at 7am.

I was sick of hearing about the election, and now I am sick of hearing about the recount. Polls show that the secular and experience oriented voted for Gore, while those who are religious and value honesty and leadership voted for Bush. On WFCR a guy from the Manhattan Institute said that Gore would have won easily if not for Monicagate. He defended Clinton saying, "Adultery is not an impeachable offense." President Clinton is going to visit Vietnam and other Asian places, getting in all the travel he can before he has to quit. The president of the Philippines has been impeached for taking bribes from gambling interests. In April 1996 I sent a letter to Robert Whitelaw about the mineral collection at the Quadrangle, but he never responded. Jim Ferris Electrical Co. was located in Springfield in 1997.

November is getting on. The price of a postage stamp will go up to 34 cents January 7th, postcards will remain at 20 cents. I cooked up a dish of hamburg and spaghetti today, one of Mother's favorite meals. WFCR has announced that the way they are being charged for their programming by NPR has changed, they are now charged by the size of their audience rather than how much money they raise. Jerry Franklin of CPTV is appearing in a fundraising ad, shown sitting in an office with clutter all around, pretending to be just a little guy like you and me, when in fact he gets an enormous salary. The Pellegrini etc. law office is advertising that they are "the only firm that can handle big cases." That sounds like a lie.

Went out at 1:45pm today and made copies at CopyCat. They showed me a program they are printing for the Wesley Church Centennial which has a picture of the new church but not the old. I mailed a letter to Nader the Hatter at Louis & Clark. I also mailed Dickie Drysdale a copy of a letter I sent to The Reminder years ago, praising them for printing the school honor rolls. Afterwards I drove to Fleet Bank in the Acres to cash a $100 check, before going across to the Acres Big Y, where I ran into Mr. Anzalotti. He said he decided to give up being a poll worker after 50 years, saying it is too hard for him to get out of bed that early in the morning. Anzolotti said he never dreamed he'd see a mess like the 2000 presidential election. I headed over to Burger King and got a medium order of fries with a coupon. The girl worker that is always so friendly immediately said hi to me and asked where I've been. I told her that since Mother died I haven't been going out as much. She said she hasn't been as active lately either, which she said is too bad because she is getting fat. My order number at Burger King was #72 at 3pm. Out front an ultra modern Dunkin Donuts has been completed, I'll have to check it out soon.

When I got back, I left a Boston Herald at the Penniman's. Once inside my house I saw that Unknown had called four times. I called Shirley and told her to tell Aunt Maria that Irene C. Stafford has died. Then I called Mother's best friend, Mrs. Staniski, and she told me that the doctor took out her stitches yesterday, but she made no mention of my essay on Wesley Church. ABC News showed Judge John Miller of Broward County, Florida, who is in charge of the recount. He has long white hair like Timothy Collins from the Springfield Teacher's Union. There was also a story on the local news about how the Commerce Department says that retail sales are down, but they interviewed a woman who owns a clothing store in Northampton and she said business is up at her store and throughout downtown Northampton.

Evidence of Springfield's decline can be subtle. WFCR had an ad on today mentioning driving to work and referred to "your trip into Hartford." Notice they did not say "your trip into Springfield." Eamon called and told me that he is getting a lot of calls to his phone editorials these days. He said F. Keough called three times yesterday. A Lil Santaniello is also calling a lot. Eamon thinks the local crooks are afraid of what he appears to know. Eamon feels certain that Tom Vannah of the Valley Advocate has a "direct line" into the corruption probe, and he is encouraging Vannah to leak information to him. Eamon said that Vannah told him that Anthony Ardolino is making a pile of money off the Civic Pub.

November 15, 2000

Thin, high clouds, sunny, 49 degrees at 9:30am.

Someday I shall die and it's nothing to get excited about.

Thanksgiving is early this year. The paper says the number of people who came to the Open Pantry last month increased by 600 despite talk that the economy is improving. The article said that the 16 Acres Civic Association collected over a thousand pounds of food at their food drive at Food Mart last week. Since Mother died I have slowly been disposing of her bag collection, but there are still hundreds in the basement.

The big news today is the merger of Hampden Savings Bank and United Cooperative Bank. They said on TV22 that the merger has been talked about for two months. I wonder if the collapse of New England Fidelity had anything to do with this? It is being called the union of two equals and Ray Labbie will preside over it all until he retires at the end of the year, at which point Tom Burton will become president. The headquarters will be in downtown Springfield. United Cooperative has 154 employees and none will be cut. Hampden has 74 employees. I wonder if a public comments hearing will be part of the approval process?

I have a major publication coming out in a few weeks. I am presently engaged in a retrospective reading of my correspondence for the last decade. It fills about 20 archive boxes. I am making good progress reviewing the papers. 80,000 noteslips comprise my database in law and literature. Some of them are notes I took, but a great many are things from Hamilton lists, book catalogs, professional society journals and other things of legal significance. Databases are built of many tiny grains of information.

I mailed out my bills at the Breckwood Shops, then drove over to see Mrs. Staniski, who looks chipper. I cut the bushes behind her garage for her. I used the ladder and when I finished she was grateful. Mrs. Staniski said she had mentioned the need to cut the bushes to her daughter Carol, but she said Carol seldom comes over. Once again, she never said a word about the Wesley Centennial essay I sent her. She gave me a pile of magazines from Ann. After I left there, I went to Sipersteins for a gallon of Elmer's Glueall for $12.95. The bottle was so dusty, I asked If I could have a discount since it had obviously been on the shelf for quite a while. He let me have it for $11.44 plus 57 cents tax for a total of $12.01. I gave him $13 and he gave me a dollar back. I went to the car, got a penny and gave it to him.

From there I went to Redbrick Bookstore to get copies of Hungry Hill magazine. The cover has a picture of Al Gore, Melinda Phelps and Richard Neal, standing together with Melinda in the middle. It also has a second article by Moriarty of Elms on the history of the college. Obviously Moriarty and the editor Faulkner are thicker than thieves. Redbrick was having a sale, so I bought Lawler's Columbus and Magellan and a 1956 A.I.C. Yearbook with pictures in it of Spoerl, Whitelaw, Bowen and others in it. Next I swung by Eamon's, and while passing Smith & Wesson I saw that there were not many cars in the parking lot. There was no sign of life at Eamon's except for the dog barking inside, so I left my bag of reading material on his back doorknob.

From Eamon's, I decided to to drive up Springfield Street to the Faulkner residence at 192. That is the address listed for both Faulkner and Hungry Hill magazine. It is a large 1900ish house with East Longmeadow brownstone blocks supporting the porch. There is a carriage house out back. Very swanky. The 1946 City Directory says it belonged to Joseph P. Moriarty, a lawyer whose office was at 31 Elm Street. Later I asked Eamon if he knew who Joseph Moriarty was and he said he was the cousin of Thomas Moriarty, the District Attorney years ago. He said Joseph's specialty in law was real estate transactions. I drove around downtown for a bit. The tattoo parlor the Viper's Nest appears empty, and the Exeter Building is still standing. It would be a shame to destroy it, but the old factory behind it probably should come down. The new facade of Santaniello's Mardi Gras is all finished and looks real snazzy.

On my way back I went to the Bank of Western Mass and withdrew $900, then took it over to United Cooperative at 1954 Wilbraham Road and opened a 3 year CD with Donna Nolan in the precise amount Burton refunded me when he threw me out of his bank - $1,024.05. Nolan told me they will be moving into the Community/Shawmut/Fleet building and will be offering safety deposit banks. When I left the bank it was sprinkling. I looked around back where the hardware store was and there is now five doors, maybe they expect to have five shops in them. I still haven't been in the new Dunkin Donuts. When I got home, I discovered that Unknown had called five times. I called Mrs. Berselli, but she said for me to call again as she was just leaving to see her hematologist Dr. Steinberg.

Although I don't maintain a law office and never bill anybody for anything, I give basic free copyright advice to everybody in sight, even though another lawyer would charge at least $100 or so. Among those who have followed my copyright advice are the Modern Language Association, the New England Historic Genealogical Association and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. In law we call this pro bono, I call it simply doing good. The subject of the Irish are almost the last of my interests. However, in 1996 I sent a letter to the Holyoke St. Patrick's Day Committee telling them what kind of copyright notice to put at the end of their TV programming. I always watch the St. Patty's Day Mass to see if I can catch the Bishop saying nasty things about WASPS and casting aspersions on Yankee hospitality and sweat shops. Bishop Marshall never did so, which is why I like him, and Richard Neal is impeccably polite to Protestant gatherings, even as he cranks out all the political benefits he can by attacking WASPS before Irish audiences.

November 17, 2000

Red sky at dawn, sunny and 52 degrees at 2pm.

George W. Bush is making an ass of himself and the Republican Secretary of State in Florida has disallowed additional time for recounts. The election continues to be a mess, both candidates are depressing and this just rubs it in. WNEC Law Professors Wolfe, Miller and a fatter, more jovial Harpas were on the local news talking about the election. Art Wolf said the election mess is actually for the good in the long run because it will result in reforms in the way elections are conducted. I have said the exact same thing. Bill Clinton is the first President to visit Vietnam. Arguably it is an insult to all the suckers who died there.

Wesley Church has a centennial banner across the front. In going through my papers, I came upon a May 1992 letter from R.E.L. Strider thanking me for information about several things, including the "strange kind of hassle about the order of DeMolay and our friend Jim Johnson." The August Colby Alumnus magazine with Bill Cosby on the cover had a full page feature on Jimmy on page 68. The best find of all was the first portion of Father's autobiography written on yellow-lined paper.

Before going out today, I called Dianne Wilson, Labbe's secretary, and warned her that I would call Labbe about Burton after Thanksgiving. I then called Tom Burton's secretary and warned her that I would soon be calling Mr. Labbe "about what I think of your bank and the way I was treated. "Okay," she said, "I'll give him the message." I drove out mid-morning to get the newspaper with the Hampden/United merger in it, then over to CopyCat to make copies. They kindly gave me a copy of the program from the Wesley Centennial they printed. It completely glosses over the issues surrounding the fire and the tearing down of the old church. There is no mention of Trinity or the Goads, although the Mackies are conspicuous. I had shown an interest last spring in helping with the centennial but nobody contacted me, so few people with ties to the old church are mentioned. At least now I don't have to go searching for a program.

When I got back home Eamon called and said he is done with my book and will put it out on his porch for me to pick up. He said he spoke to Vannah at the Advocate, who told him they are sitting on a mountain of stuff and that Mike Armitage will be on next week's cover. So I drove out again, this time to Eamon's, who has a turkey flag out now, and picked up my book The Coming Anarchy and left a thin bag of reading material for him. I then drove down Carew and over to West Springfield to check out the United Cooperative headquarters.

Elm Street is a lovely business district with no parking meters. I parked in the lot at CVS and saw that United Cooperative Bank has a lovely building. Hampden's ivory with rust trim, pictures covered with plexiglass and orange insurance signs make Burton a sort of ugly banker. By contrast, United Cooperative has a forest green carpet, ivory paneling on the walls and tasteful schlock artwork of West Springfield scenes presented behind non-glare glass. The three best paintings were by Dianne I. Cote - Park Street Common, Bear Hole Reservoir and Mittineague Park. There is a spiral staircase going upstairs that reminds me of Ludlow. I got a copy of their latest statement, then told Kelly and another woman that I think the merger is a mistake.

When I got back to the city, I parked by the Baptist Church and headed down to the place in the Tarbell-Watters building where Eamon gets his copies made. They charge five cents per copy, with color copies for a dollar. Eamon's friend is a friendly guy and accommodating. From there I walked down Worthington Street, where I noticed about five new bars although the Viper's Nest tattoo parlor is gone, replaced by a fortune teller. I stopped by Mailboxes in Baystate West and they were charging copies at two cents each. The owner admitted to me that at two cents per copy they were barely breaking even. For $40 I could get a thousand copies of my letterhead, enough to last me about one year. When I left I counted 33 people in the City Block area and there was very little traffic on Main Street. Walking past Hampden Bank I saw few customers inside. Suddenly I was surprised to see Tom Burton himself coming out the door in a tweed jacket and marching to the car I had always suspected was his. I got back home at 1:15pm and saw that in the mail Mrs. Staniski had sent me a thank you note for cutting the bushes around her garage. While I was out, Unknown called at 1:02pm.

November 18, 2000

Bush's lead over Gore in Florida has grown to 927 votes. Since Gore got the most votes nationwide, I feel he should be President. Fair is fair. Paula F. Mark was the Instructional Service Librarian for the UMass Library in 1993. Robert J. Gula and Roberto Crespi were my two best buddies at Colby, both now deceased. Gula died in 1989 at age 47 and Crespi died in 1993 at age 50.

I had Creme of Wheat and an orange for breakfast. Going through my papers today, I found a March 1990 letter from Barbara A. Patterson of the USPS stating that "Metered mail must bear the date of entry when it is submitted to the post office." Interestingly, I had received that year two offending pieces of mail, one from Baybank Valley and another from the Board of Bar Overseers. I also came across a postcard from Joe Carvalho thanking me for sending him a copy of The Pilgrim Society News saying, "I was not aware of that particular publication."

Drove out at 9:15am and there were snow flurries when I got to the Big Y parking lot in the Acres. In the Big Y I bought a pecan pie for $2.50. I saw that working as a bagger at Big Y was Mrs. Tomoe, the lady who used to handle the Ashland crosswalk. She said she has worked at Big Y for four years and her kids have all grown up and got married. From there I checked out the new Dunkin Donuts, which had no unique features. Then I drove over to Pride and made copies, after which I headed over to the Eastfield Mall to get a $10 haircut. From there I drove towards the city and followed the signs to Union Congregational Church, which was holding a fair today. There were a lot of cars parked outside, more than I expected. I had never been in that church before, although Craig Bradley went there. Its cornerstone says it was built in 1931. Those were hard times. The top floor has Sunday School rooms, the lower is the sanctuary. The basement has a large hall with a kitchen in back with large stainless steel refrigerators. The linoleum tiles on the basement floor are very worn. They had a lot of drawings to take a chance on and people selling homemade Christmas schlock in booths. I bought nothing. In all it is a very standard Congregational Church with white pews and mahogany trim.

Next I headed to the Homebuyer's Fair at the old Monarch Building at 1250 State, now a high school. I parked by the steam plant as no one else was parked over there. They were offering classes on dealing with a broker, how to de-lead a home and getting a mortgage. The school library was open so I walked in and it looks pretty good. The counseling office has banners hanging up from a lot of colleges including Harvard, Yale and Brandeis. The cafeteria is still where the old Monarch dining hall was and MCDI students were serving brownies, danish, cornmeal muffins, cookies and milk. There was a variety of lending agencies and sellers there, including the City of Springfield Inspector's Office and a booth for the Quadrangle right inside the door. Hampden Savings Bank had a large booth where the receptionist's station was located in the Monarch days. I said nothing as I took the Hampden Bank literature and neither did they. I spoke to the guy in home inspections and he said that inspectors don't test for lead unless asked to. The School Department was passing out candy along with their literature.

On my way back I drove down Crest Street and saw old Secundo Guidi at 37, his fancy white car in front of the house. He told me that Billy Beldon is in a nursing home in Westfield and can't walk without a walker. A relative from Agawam has been looking after the house for him. When I got home I called Belle Rita Novak, who told me she was in the middle of preparing a party for her Farmer's Market friends. She said the market at the X is doing "very well" and I told her I thought she was doing a wonderful job and she thanked me for the compliment. I told her about the concerts coming up at First Church and wished her a Happy Thanksgiving. J.P. Barchielle called and said in a matronly voice, "Is this Storrowtown? Oh, sorry." I called Fred Whitney who said he was "outside working all afternoon." Whitney said he liked my idea of nominating the Valley Advocate for a Pulitzer Prize. He also told me that Marshall Moriarty told him there is something shady going on with Murphy and Valerie Barsom, but that he didn't know what it was. Atty. Moriarty also told him, "There have always been questions about Murphy's integrity." We mutually wished each other Happy Thanksgiving.

Eamon called and said he is thinking of withdrawing his money from United Cooperative Bank because he got an unsatisfactory response to a problem he had from both Briggs and Labbe. His latest Daylight News Service phone editorials have been getting steady calls from Dennis Murphy, Raipher Pellegrino, Dom Sarno and Brian Santaniello. Eamon called Dean of the Council Santaniello "an inept career politician" and a "turncoat Democrat gone Republican" who has "a do-nothing no-show job with the state." Eamon said that yesterday he got three calls from John "Jake" Nettis, a mobster and alleged hitman who is married to Rita Santaniello, whom he thinks is a cousin of Brian. Eamon told me that Joe Calabresi told him that Nettis was responsible for at least 20 murders, despite having been general manager of Dreikorn's Bakery before going to prison for a time. Seeing his number on his caller ID, Eamon decided to call Nettis at his home on Morris Street. His wife answered, and upon hearing who was calling repeated Eamon's name out loud, then quickly said her husband wasn't home. But Eamon said he could hear Nettis shouting in the background, "Tell him I didn't do nothin'!"

November 20, 2000

Red sun at daybreak, 37 degrees at 7:10am.

TV's Larry King has a new book out Anything Goes! What I've Learned From Pundits, Politicians and Presidents. Anything goes is about right! Julia Childs has been awarded the French Legion of Honor. Ann Buendo, co-founder of The Reminder who died last month at age 67, lived in East Longmeadow and was a member of the High School of Commerce Class of 1950. She is buried in the Gate of Heaven cemetery in Springfield. Last night TV22 reported that students at the New Leadership Charter School are teaching kids in grade 6 through 8 Latin. It showed the students celebrating a Roman holiday dressed in togas. Good. In 1990 I became a Founding Friend of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. Cafe on the Quadrangle is open Wednesday to Sunday - 11:30am to 4pm.

I went out about 10:15am and had breakfast at the McDonald's on Allen Street. I read the paper there, which listed all the big salaries the city pays. Brian McCook is well up there, but as a negotiator, not a lawyer. Next I went to Food Mart, where I bought two bricks of Cracker Barrel cheese. Then I went to Wesley Church to check out how many cars were in the parking lot for the Centennial celebration. I counted 60 cars in all. As I drove past the Nation of Islam mosque, I recalled how my parents used to park there when it used to be a First National and we used to walk through a gate in the fence. This was before Wesley Church had a parking lot.

So after circling Wesley Church three times, I went to Angelo's and got cantaloupe, bananas, yams and oranges, all on special. They didn't have any of the traditional acorn squash Mother liked, so I have no squash on hand, but plenty of everything else. I then got a 99 cent Whopper with a coupon at the Burger King in the Acres. I was customer 96 and was waited on by Mrs. Brown. While I was there, a fire broke out at the Goodwill and all the ladies who work there came over to drink coffee and watch out the window until the firemen let them go back in the store. They said it was a minor electrical fire. I dropped off a Boston Herald at the Penniman's when I got back. I brought Sweet Pea the bunny and Honey Pot the bear up from the sofa down cellar and put them on the sofa in the living room. I'm still sorting papers from the last decade at the dining room table. Unknown rang five times, but I didn't answer.

Richard Neal was on WFCR this morning asking people to support the station. They called him "Sir" every chance they got. Neal said that "democracy is noisy" and said he likes WFCR's "substantive reporting" which he said "is sorely lacking in many quarters today." Eamon called, and I told him about two books in Hamilton, an Irish dictionary and a history of Irish politics in Boston. He asked me to order them both for him at once. Eamon said that there has been a culture of corruption in Springfield "since time immemorial." He says Albano, Meara and Bennett are "all in the same boat" in agreeing not to make trouble for the political crooks. Eamon's spies tell him that Congressman Neal spends a lot of time in the congressional gym playing basketball. He also plays sometimes at the Y in Springfield in games consisting of whoever just walks in and wants to play.

November 21, 2000

Lovely morning, 45 degrees at 7:30am.

The Florida Supreme Court has extended the recount in Florida to November 26, thus giving hope to Gore. New election terms in the media these days are dingle chad, pregnant chad and hanging chad. Eamon's High School buddy Deputy Chief Daniel W. Spellacy had his retirement party earlier this year at the Storrowtown Tavern in West Springfield. The comic Doonsbury is by Garry Trudeau. Buffalo, New York has gotten 25 inches of snow in 24 hours. Terry Lee Gordon is the Marketing Director for the Orchard Valley Senior Living Community in Wilbraham.

My right knee is better than a few weeks back. Use a body part and it gets better, sit and mope and it gets worse. Completed many chores today, including raking up two bags of silver maple leaves from the tree belt and putting them with Kelly's bags from her garden cleanup. This is also recycle week. Today I wrote my memo to Rev. Cordella Brown regarding her return of my $100 centennial celebration contribution. I went out this morning at 9:20am and got some gas at the Breckwood Sunoco. I was told by the woman working that someone else came in the other day with a two-sided haircut like mine.

From there I headed to Trinity Church, where I ran into Mrs. Goad in the second floor hallway. I mentioned the books I lent her and she said she will get them together for me soon. She had a big smile and wished me a Happy Thanksgiving. I left a sealed envelope with Huber and was out of Trinity at 9:55am. Then over to Wesley Church in the Square, where Mackie's car sat alone in the lot with a lock on her steering wheel. She came to the door promptly and I gave her a sealed envelope for Rev. Brown. When I wished her a Happy Thanksgiving she looked almost surprised saying, "Oh! Alright, thank you." I didn't go in nor asked her for a centennial celebration booklet.

Leaving Wesley at 10:09am, I headed over to the Tuesday Morning Music Club concert at AIC. The concert featured the Westwind Quintet with John Van Buskirk on piano, doing pieces by Beethoven and Ludwig Thuille. The clarinetist was Peter Demos, the Chairman of the Music Department at Westfield State College. Overall, the concert was okay, but the musical selections were boring. I chatted with Mary Alice Stusick, who said that her father and his older brother built the Stusick Block in Indian Orchard as young men. The older brother planned to go to Harvard to major in architecture, but he died from ptomaine poisoning when he drank some bad water. She said the building is too old and the tenants are a real problem. She said after the concert ended she is going over to try to collect overdue rents. Mary Alice would sell the Stusick Block if she could, and recently she had to pay off a $50,000 tax lien. CVS expressed interest in buying the building, tearing it down and putting up a new store, but nothing came of it. For a time we nibbled cookies together and remembered what fun we had when we were in the Young People's Symphony together. I also urged her to arrange to have her family archives turned over to the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum after her death.

Later I spoke with the President of the Tuesday Morning Music Club and suggested that they have more concerts open to the public. I asked her whether Fran Gagnon is working on the research for their club history. She said Gagnon "has no connection to the club" and they aren't thinking of asking her to help. She asked what I thought about having Noble work on it and I said that's fine. Their next concert will be held December 5th at the First Congregational Church in Westfield. After the concert I went to see Mrs. Staniski and gave her a Wesley Church booklet and some postcards of Mason Square that included a few of Mass Mutual. This caused her to recall how she had worked for Mass Mutual for seven years in the Renewal Department.

From Mrs. S. I drove up to the Eastfield Mall where I got two freebies, a miniature flashlight and a swiss army knife. The Eastfield Mall is just starting to put up their holiday decorations. A black woman named Kim gave me $5 to take a survey. She said she is a high school graduate, and when she heard I was a lawyer asked if I could help avoid a 14 day eviction notice. I told her my specialty was copyright law not real estate, so I couldn't help her. I asked, "How did a nice girl like you end up with an eviction notice?" She said the landlord doesn't like her boyfriend. While at the mall I mailed a copy of my Wesley Church centennial essay to the Catholic Bishop. I dined this evening on a very good Green Giant Green Bean Casserole I bought on special at Stop&Shop. Nader the Hatter called and said his father is in Florida with him and likes it. He said his brother's wife's breast cancer is not going well and she is running out of options. Nader said he is not expecting to be returning to the valley anytime soon, although he is still renting space in the old Indian Orchard Mill.

November 22, 2000

Clear sky with stars last night, 34 degrees at 7:30am.

Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley must need business. They are giving away free turkeys at the Springfield Plaza on Liberty Street to anyone dealing with the Massachusetts Worker's Compensation bureaucracy. Unknown called but was voiceless when I answered. I shouted, "Don't call again!"

Went out around 9:50am and dropped off some material about John Silber at Eamon's. Today I drove up to the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside. There were cumulus clouds against a blue sky as I drove up, the snow that was predicted never materialized. I arrived at Ingleside at 10:30 on the button by the clock on the corner of the soon to be open new Bernie's diagonally across the way from Barnes & Noble. The clock thermometer also gives centigrade so it flashed 33 degrees and then 1 degree c. I parked in my usual place, L-41 to be precise.

The Holyoke Mall itself is boring, too much youth clothing and all of it overpriced. The prices in Lord & Taylor are absurd. They had men's work boots with steel rivet reinforcement, but no steel toe. Looks over function. Abercrombie & Fitch was selling jeans that look already worn out. Their catalog, which used to be pretty groovy, has run out of ideas. There were people doing consumer surveys standing around, but no one approached me even when I walked past them twice.

Filene's was my main destination, because yesterday at the Eastfield Mall I saw a particularly beautiful platter that usually sells for $150 on sale for $100. The platter had a special floral border around it and I asked if they had a tureen with the same floral trim but they had none. They offered to call their store at Ingleside to see if they had one, but I told them I would go up myself today, and that is what I did. The Ingleside Filene's had a larger display of platters, but no tureens with the pretty design on them. A clerk named Linda J. Schultz waited on me promptly and said she has worked for Filene's for four years. I said I would like a tureen to serve eggnog or a casserole, but I thought the ones they had on display were ugly and I had no desire to own them. I told her that each store should get at least one of each item in their catalog, if for no other reason than so the clerks will know what it looks like in case somebody shows an interest like I did.

The photo machine at Ingleside was out of film, and I didn't go downstairs or check out the shoes, although I should have. There was a store that sold collectibles, but it was full of junk like stuffed beanies, a small case of autographed baseballs, coin holder albums and silver dollars. Nothing of much interest and their prices were high. As it turned out, I bought absolutely nothing at the Holyoke Mall. When I got home, I wrote a poem:

Nonworth and Worth

People are shit.
Talk is cheap.
A book is a deposition
signed, sealed and delivered!

Eamon called later in the day, all excited about the Valley Advocate article on M. Armitage, but when I went out to get a copy there were none at either the Breckwood Shops or at the Newsstand in the Acres.

November 23, 2000

Sunny and 41 degrees on the breezeway at 2:30pm.

In the nationwide popular vote, Gore is ahead of Bush by 328,696, but a Mathematician on TV said the difference is so small the election is the same as if a coin was tossed. Who are we to monitor elections in other countries? The intent of our democratic system is that everyone has a vote, but this election mess has uncovered that the things we do to deprive people of their vote is appalling. WFCR is celebrating the Centennial of Aaron Copeland. Copeland's music is lovely, but I have never really been acquainted with it. When I drove around Wesley Church the day of their Centennial Celebration, I saw no vans from the television stations, nothing on the news, nor did I see anything in the newspaper.

Neil R. Stout was the Editor of of the Vermont Historical Society in 1994. The Words and Pictures Museum of Fine Sequential Art in Northampton closed in 1999. It was founded by Teenage Ninja Turtle co-creator Kevin Eastman and the Museum Director was Fiona Russell. It was located on Main Street at the site of the former Beardsley's Restaurant.

Today is Thanksgiving Day - Father was born on this day in 1906. Eamon told me he was going to his sister's for Thanksgiving "although I'd rather not." He said he will take his sister a bottle of Bushmill's Whiskey, although he personally considers Tully Moore's Dew to be the best, a liqueur which I'd never heard of. I told him the only brand I'm familiar with is Irish Mist. Eamon said the place to get Tully Moore's Dew is Town & Country.

I went out at 10am, but Louis & Clark were closed. However, F.I.T. (Females in Training) was open and there were at least twenty cars outside. From there I drove up to the Acres Newsstand and got three papers, including the Valley Advocate. I noticed there is a DeWolfe sign in front of the DeRiso home, I guess Lortie, which never had an Open House, apparently couldn't sell it and lost the listing contract.

I called Aunt Maria and Shirley Whittier-Huang picked up on the first ring. She said they had just gotten home from the Community Dinner at the Congregational Church and Aunt Maria had "a wonderful time" although they didn't know anyone at the dinner. Shirley described Aunt Maria as being "in quite good shape, but forgetful, as we all are." She told me she asked Aunt Maria if she wanted to come to my house on Thanksgiving but she said no. I asked Shirley whether she had seen this week's Valley Advocate, but she didn't even seem to know what the Advocate was. I told her their reporters are my friends and they did an excellent article about Armitage and the Agawam power plant controversy. Before hanging up, Shirley proposed returning my books tomorrow but I told her to call first.

I decided that with Shirley possibly coming tomorrow, I should go see the film Men of Honor, starring Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding, this afternoon. So I left here around 3pm and bought my ticket for $5.50 at 3:20pm. While waiting for the film to start at 4pm, I watched kids playing video games until 3:50pm. I asked an usher why they don't have a clock in front, and he said originally they were supposed to have a clock over the archway, but "Mr. Lowe wouldn't permit it and nobody disagrees with Mr. Lowe." I ended up liking Men of Honor for a variety of reasons. It delivered what I wanted to see, namely diving equipment in use. Better still, it offered a glimpse of the basic training in diving the Navy gives. There were three quasi-legal hearing scenes. Men of Honor is by far one of the best films I've seen at the Eastfield Lowe's Theater.

Only when I got home did I have Thanksgiving, consisting of a Hungry Man Turkey Dinner, boiled onions, boiled turnip and microwaved yams. I didn't cook up a pie. The turnip didn't taste bad, but it didn't have the best flavor. Turnips are the most unpredictable and temperamental of vegetables. Other veggies you know what you can count on. Never with a turnip.

November 25, 2000

26 degrees on the breezeway at 7:30am.

TV22 had a clever phrase about the holiday, "Yesterday was the feast, today it's the freezer." WFCR says that prisons are one of the biggest growth industries. The answer is to legalize drugs to reduce crime. Reed's Landing in Springfield is essentially a housing complex for the wealthy and doesn't deserve property tax exemption as a charity says John Lynch, a lawyer for the Springfield Board of Assessors. The motto of Fleet Mortgage is "Ready When You Are." United Cooperative Bank claims, "Our Mortgage Magic Continues." Wilson's is selling leather jackets with laces on the side of the waist for $149.

I first became comfortable with being a leatherman by reading what would be called dirty magazines. I now feel such behavior is perfectly normal and healthy, and that it is the uptight, puritanical ways that are unhealthy and abnormal. In anticipation of Shirley Huang coming today, I shaved my head and put a fresh coat of purple on my hair. I also affixed my miniature Swiss cowbell to the ring in my standard bondage collar. However, I never heard a word from Shirley and she never came. The mail brought a nice letter from John R. Auchter thanking me for my essay on Wesley Church I sent him. I wonder if Judy Spear ever married? She was a philosophy major at Colby and came from money.

A Kurt Ghidoni called from 827-0056 and said, "Sorry, wrong number." Tim Lewis called and asked most assertively for John but I hung up on him when he refused to say where he was calling from. I got a questionnaire today from a group called American Immigration Control. I wrote on it, "With a resume such as I have I am much solicited for consulting on various matters and my basic fee for questionnaires such as this is $100. It's a pretty neat little racket, isn't it? Upon receipt of the $100 I'll send you my answers." One of the questions was "Will you support American Immigration Control's fight to change policies which encourage unchecked immigration but discourage those immigrants from learning our language and fitting into our culture?" I checked yes with the note, "I'll be happy to join your staff at $85,000 per year." Unlike most surveys, it did not come with a postpaid envelope, so I mailed it back to them postage due.

I looked at the latest edition of the School Handbook for Springfield, and while much improved, it is still conspicuously flawed throughout. There is no substitute for being regularly involved in writing for developing good English. I pushed the vac around and did a load of wash. Dined today on roast beef hash, turnip and Green Giant veggies. I drove down to Bookends and parked on Dwight. I then walked around checking out some of the downtown restaurants. Auntie Em's on Worthington is small and nice, but nothing special, just a little gay bar. Art-e-Pasta is really special, but their prices are high. Their design is artsy all right, a mixture of art deco, art nouveau, oriental pillars, bright colors and a touch of stained glass. It looks good. I walked down the street to Just Friends, which is undergoing minor renovations. There were about ten people of both sexes at the bar, and they were quite surprised when I gave a dollar for the use of their toilet, but I don't often buy a drink there so I felt they deserved something.

Eamon called, and I asked him whether I could send the Valley Advocate some of his memos to me and he said yes because, "There's nothing I've ever written that I'm ashamed of." Eamon said he was surprised and delighted over the Advocate article about Armitage and corruption in Agawam, but he said the tone of the article was too reserved and "lacked the flow of rhetoric" that would have enhanced its impact. Eamon claims that mobsters often use bagmen to drop off money for politicians because they don't want there to be any evidence of direct contact. He said there is much corruption in Springfield and we need a mayoral administration that is "based on legality and a larger public purpose." Eamon noted that the Union-News said that 60,000 attended the balloon parade. He insists that 10,000 is more like it.

November 27, 2000

36 degrees at noon on both thermometers.

The State of Florida has declared Bush the winner by 537 votes. Of course lots of Gore votes were not counted under one pretext or another. Florida Governor Jeb Bush should be very embarrassed and if his brother George W. does become President, his only mandate will be to listen very carefully to the other side. The case is now going to the Supreme Court and let's hope they have the integrity to uphold the one man, one vote principle and have all the ballots counted. Barbara P. Zalkan, former manager of Harvey's Women's Clothing Store in East Longmeadow and the wife of Springfield Newspaper reporter Arthur Zalkan, has died at age 58. WFCR says the black bear population in the valley is rising. They also had a recast of the Aaron Copeland concert from the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress. Copeland was born November 14, 1900.

Postage for postcards is now 21 cents. A half gallon of milk at Food Mart is now $1.69. My article Problem Librarians Make Problems for Humanists was re-printed by Neal-Shuman Publishers in 1991. I called Dr. Mullan and got Lima (as in beans) and she said this year's flu shot has not come in yet. I also called Pearsall in Wilbraham to remind him that for tax purposes I want to sign the transfer of the Wilbraham land by December 31st. I have gussied up my costume a notch by snapping a bondage cuff just above my boots so my pants blouse out a bit. With my black jacket zipped up it looks quite slick and of course queer and threatening.

It was not raining at all as I drove out at 11:05am or so. I made copies at CopyCat, which has upped their price to ten cents per copy. There always seems to be a mob waiting for copies when I come in, so maybe they are trying to get rid of excess business. From now on I'll be doing more copying in the Acres. I also mailed photocopies of Father's account of his childhood in Bethel to Jeffrey Marshall, the archivist at the University of Vermont. In addition, I sent transcripts of some of Eamon's phone editorials to Vannah at the Advocate. I swung by Wesley Church and counted 16 cars in the parking lot as I continue to monitor what size congregation they have left down there. Finally, I went to the Acres Burger King for the 99 cent Whopper they're offering every Monday this month. On my way back I went to the Mailboxes at Five Town Mall and they still have a five cent per copy rate.

Eamon called at 10:11 and we chatted until 10:50am. He alerted me that half the business page today is devoted to Hampden's Tom Burton. Eamon talked a bit about his friend Clayton B. Fitzgerald, who figured out a way to make fertilizer from WMECO's flyash. The paper today also has a call for Pynchon Award nominations. I told Eamon about the scenes of discrimination against blacks by the Navy in the movie Men of Honor. Eamon said that whenever he saw blacks being mistreated in the Navy he spoke up and complained about it, and I believe he did. He said he "hated to see the mean jokes some whites played on the poor blacks."

Yesterday I went to Stop&Shop and stopped in at East Coast Marketplace. Who should be there wearing a scuffed brown leather bomber jacket but City Councilor Brian Santaniello! For once he wanted to talk, perhaps because Albano has told him I have been sending the mayor memos and wanted to convey to Albano what I thought about some things. He came up to me and said, "Well hello, aren't you the Attorney Miller who opposed the baseball stadium?" I told him that I had nothing against the stadium, but I was opposed to the shabby way the city was treating the merchants at Northgate. He asked where I thought a stadium should go, and I said maybe by the Hall of Fame. I also complained about the endless Cecil Report delays and the lack of a developer for Union Station. Santaniello asked me what I thought about the presidential election mess, and I said that although I am a Republican, I wouldn't mind if Gore won because Bush Jr. is such a jerk. He let out a big laugh, because of course Santaniello is really a Democrat and only switched parties in hopes that he could get something from the Republican governor.

November 28, 2000

43 degrees and the sun is out at 8am.

Gary Hart is 64 today. WFCR says that worldwide 21 million people have died of AIDS and 36 million are presently infected. Sovereign Bank is laying off 500 and Milton Bradley is shifting jobs overseas. WNEC has established a Legislative Institute run by Arthur Wolfe. The American Philological Association transferred their headquarters from Fordham University to Holy Cross College in Worcester in 1990. There was a story in today's paper on the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory.

I had a stuffy nose last night and took a Coricidin. I called Punderson Oil and spoke with Lynn who said that the price is $1.52, with a two cent per gallon senior discount for a price of $1.50 per gallon. I ordered 150 gallons and she said that will cost $225 so I told her I would leave the check in the mailbox. David Montgomery called today (listed as a telephone installer in the 1986 directory) and said he has Buckingham Junior High t-shirts for ten dollars and would drop one off. I gave him directions and he promptly arrived. I gave him $15, saying the extra $5 was for home delivery. The t-shirt is blue with white printing and the school building is shown with the logo "I Attended the Forth Reunion - Oct. 28, 2000." I invited him in but he said he had a couple more shirts to deliver. He told me he would like to talk to me about the history of the school sometime, and I said he is cordially invited anytime, just call in advance. I don't know what will ultimately happen, but he got me the shirt and I am grateful. Montgomery is a tall black man who wears a black leather jacket.

When I drove out today, I dropped off some reading material with a chipper Mr. Cohn. I then drove 13.1 miles up to South Hadley, noting as I passed Our Lady of Sacred Heart Church on Boston Road that my odometer read exactly 99,800. When I arrived, I parked directly in front of the Odyssey Bookshop and brought in a box of about 20-25 nice books. They offered me the elevator to take the books upstairs, but I said I could use the exercise. The cheerful little man up there asked if I wanted to be paid in cash or books. I replied that I don't want them to go out of business, so I'll take books. He gave me credit for $54 and I told him, "You're a very nice man." I took my time looking around and finally bought seven books. I had arrived there at 10:15 and left at 10:45am.

Returning to the city, I went to my credit union and deposited checks for $143.38. I took a walk down Main Street and saw men working on the sign in front of the Paramount Theater which said "Opening in December" but no date. I left off an antiques magazine with Attorney Berman's receptionist, telling her that I will send him my review of the Cecil Report if it ever comes out. I walked through Westfield Bank, which was nicely decorated but there was only one teller on duty and no customers. The art display is still in the window of the old Johnson's Bookstore, and I took a poster promoting the Forest Park Home Tour in December, but I will not be going this year. I walked over to the WNEC room in Tower Square and they have relocated to a single, small office.

From downtown, I drove out to the antique shops by White and Sumner. The man in Fancy That said he heard that the Cat's Paw is for sale. They always have new things in Fancy That, but I bought nothing. There were chairs in froth of Myer's so I went in, the man and woman working there both called my neck bell "cool." From there I dined at the Boston Road McDonald's on their 99 cent nuggets. They give very little chicken for that, and I was dismayed that they charged for extra sauce. At least ketchup is still free.

Mayor Albano has announced a "facade program" to spruce up the North End. Friendly's stock has hit an all time low of 1.87. Eamon called and said he got a renewal notice from the Elms Irish Center but he doesn't plan to renew. We also discussed the fading of Friendly's stock. Eamon suggested that Priestly Blake or Ben & Jerry's should buy out Friendly's and then restore their restaurants to what they used to be.

November 29, 2000

Sunny and 47 degrees at 5pm.

Books are better than diamonds because with diamonds all you can do is play with them with tweezers and keep them in a bag, but books you can read and enjoy forever. The restoration of the spire on top of Memorial Hall at Harvard was paid for by the Massachusetts Historical Commission, The Victorian Society in America (New England Chapter) and the Boston Society of Architects. Janie Gibson is Director of Member Services at Summerwood at University Park in West Hartford, Connecticut.

My principal objective today was to get a flu shot at Wachogue Congressional Church on the corner of Arvilla and Roosevelt Avenue, but I was turned away. First I put out the check for the oilman. When I drove out the mailman was just going by at his usual 10:30am time. I cashed a Ludlow check at Fleet in the Acres. Then to Staples on Boston Road where I bought a new felt stamp pad. From there I went to Ruby Tuesday, where I ordered the unlimited salad from Cheryl. I ate lots of ham and cottage cheese, pasta and other good things like peaches, pineapple, various kinds of melon and a big chunk of chocolate pudding. I got up and walked around and counted 107 customers there not counting staff. A very diverse clientele, kids and elderly ladies, businessmen and construction workers, all there, all agree, it's the best.

Then over to Wachogue where there were cars parked all around with a line extending out the door. As I got in line I discovered that the line also extended down the corridor. When my turn came, they said they were focusing on their target population of those over 65. I should have lied about my age, but I left. From there I dropped off some reading material at Eamon's, then over to Mrs. Staniski's who said she was frustrated and in pain from a bad tooth, but the soonest her dentist could see her was tomorrow at noon. I offered her a Tylenol with codeine but she refused. She told me I shouldn't have wasted my time sending my Wesley Church essay to Rev. Brown, and instead should have sent it to the Bishop. I told her that I already did send it and the Bishop has not responded. Mrs. S. gave me some cookies and told me that later today she will walk down the street and give some cookies to a man in his 90's who is all alone. As I left I wiped some bird lime off her car, which was in the driveway.

When I got home at 12:45pm, I dropped off the Boston Herald at the Penniman's and stuck their Reminder in their door. Then I called Friendly's and got Marty who connected me with the President's voicemail. I identified myself and told him there were 107 customers at lunch today at Ruby Tuesday. I also told him that Boston Chicken is too expensive and I can do better at Stop&Shop. I told him that the record of Friendly's under his leadership has nothing to recommend it and that they may as well sell Friendly's to someone who will restore the chain to what it was before they ruined the brand with their high prices and poor service. I said if he won't resign then he should at least take a pay cut and then I hung up.

TV22 is reporting that there has been a slowdown in the national economy. They had Russ Denver on being interviewed by Ellen Cheng saying that things are fine around here. Florence Savings Bank had an ad saying that it is opening a branch in Amherst and that their goal is to turn their profits "back to the community and the customers." Where have I heard that bullshit before?

Eamon called and said that ex-rep Fred Whitney has been calling his phone editorials regularly. He recalled how Michael Joseph used to the attorney for Big Y, but he is no longer practicing law and is raising horses down in Granby, Connecticut. He was also an attorney for Yankee Candle before it went public, and when it did he personally made $10 million. According to Eamon, the decline in the quality of Springfield's public schools began around 1966, when new, liberal theories of education began to dominate. Eamon said he had a chat with Tom Vannah of the Valley Advocate today, who told him that the deadline for submitting articles to the Advocate is Tuesday. Vannah also said that the latest round of Grand Jury proceedings ended two weeks ago. Eamon told me he urged Vannah to send someone to photograph Dennis Murphy's fancy new house in East Longmeadow.

November 30, 2001

Calm, 42 degrees at noon.

TV22 said that some aggression is good for the health because it releases chemicals that are good for the immune system. I've heard the same thing said about laughter. Perhaps any kind of strong emotional response is good for the health. The Connecticut Council on Problem Gamblers has issued a study saying that many people with gambling addictions come from families with a history of gambling problems. The Hampden Insurance Agency is a subsidiary of Hampden Savings Bank. Robert John Gula received his Masters Degree from Harvard in 1964. Richard J. Tarrant was Chairman of the Department of Classics at Harvard in 1990.

I have turned around the dining room table so my typewriter is on the window side and I have a stool I am sitting on. There is more room for the plants and everything is more efficiently arranged. I see in the paper they are currently accepting nominations for The William Pynchon Award. The prestigious prize, named after the founder of Springfield, was first presented in 1915. Winners have included automotive pioneers Charles Duryea and George Hendee, aviatrix Maude Tait, writer Thomas Burgess, businessman Peter L. Picknelly and historical preservationist Francis M. Gagnon. Nominations should be mailed to Nancy Urbschat at TSM Design at 293 Bridge Street in Springfield.

I am currently reading Holly Stiel's Ultimate Service: The Complete Handbook for the World of the Concierge (1994). It was snowing when I got up at 7:30, coming down in big flakes Mother used to call "sugar snow." The first thing I did was call Mrs. Staniski. She said her dentist appointment was at 10am and she wanted to know if it was slippery out. I went outside and checked and reported back that the temperature was in the mid-30's with a small amount of slush in the streets. She said she thought she could make it okay. I told her not to let the dentist make her wait because she is an old lady in pain who needs expedited care.

I called Donna at the Canadian Law Book Company in Ontario and she agreed to send me their current catalog. Then I called Mullan's office and Patience said they have no flu shots yet and suggested I call back next week or the week after. I asked, "Is it that bad?" and she replied, "Yes it is." Next I called AAA in West Springfield and a very professional Debbie said that Mary-Lu Irvine is out because she had an operation. I told her what a wonderful woman Mary-Lu is and asked if I could speak to her supervisor. Debbie said that would be Carlo Papageorge, but he was also out. She promised to have him call me on Monday to answer my questions comparing AAA insurance with Hampden Savings. The President of AAA is Francis J. Maloney. Finally, I called United Cooperative and Kathy of Customer Service at 1954 Wilbraham Road said that she wasn't sure whether people who open new accounts get a formal welcoming letter or not.

The regular mailman came by at 1:20pm and thanked me for the pictures of clouds I gave him. I called Aunt Maria's and Shirley answered on the second ring - often it's the first - and I said I'm coming over for my books. She profusely apologized for not coming over Saturday, saying that they decided on the spur of the moment to drive up to Vermont to see her mother. She also told me that Ruth came over yesterday and didn't take all the rhubarb. I told her to just wrap my books and put them by the front doorstep.

So I set out, first buying gas at the Breckwood Sunoco for $1.52 per gallon. There were no new Valley Advocates at Louis & Clark, even though it was Thursday afternoon. Then I drove over to West Springfield to drop off some reading material at Eamon's, who wasn't home and had his snowman flag up. I drove by New England Fidelity and their sign was gone, leaving the Insurance Center of New England sign the only one remaining. I stopped at the West Springfield branch of Hampden Savings, but they had no insurance brochures and a teller told me I would have to come tomorrow to talk to Nathan if I wanted insurance.

At last I headed to Aunt Maria's, whose car is still parked by the back door. The grounds have not been cleaned up, with Catalpa leaves all around and the bamboo and flower gardens not cut down. Shirley was standing by the driveway as I got out of my car. She invited me to look at Aunt Maria through the living room window, after first making sure Aunt Maria was not looking. Aunt Maria was sitting watching television and appeared to have a nice hair-do although she looks much thinner than formerly. Shirley says she weighs only 120 pounds. The Maxfield Parrish pictures and the oak desk are still in the living room. On the porch is a cot which must be where Debbie sleeps, the green glass lamp that was there must have had to be removed to place the cot there.

I left at 3:15pm and headed to downtown Springfield, where I parked by Apremont and walked down the hill. I made some copies at the Tower Square Mailboxes and then chatted with Janet Edwards, who was friendly. She complained about the city's parking policies downtown and the negative effect it has had on business and declared, "They just don't get it!" She was amazed when I told her how Odyssey had given me $55 for my used books. Before I left Baystate/Tower I bought a real cream puff at Gus & Paul's for $1.75 and ate it there. Alvin Paige was chatting with a woman and he smiled when he noticed me. The signage on the old SIS building is all changed and the Christmas lights are up on both Monarch Place and Hampden Savings Bank.