July 2000

July 2, 2000

The old Abdow's in West Springfield is closing. It opened in 1959 and was sold to Bickford's in 1995. The Trinity United Methodist Church on Sumner Avenue will hold a series of concerts for its 2000 Carillon Pops Festival. Trinity's carillon was built in 1928 and was a gift to the church by the Horace A. Moses family. Artists performing include George Matthew from Middlebury, Vermont.

My black raspberries are ripening and the black-eyed susans are coming out. Quiet, stay at home day spent reading slave porn and Gwin's Vietnam memoir Baptism. He talks like a military jock most of the time but occasionally comes out with a politically correct statement about how there is no glory in war. I skimmed Noth's Handbook of Semiotics (1995). I bet none of the local libraries have one and they all should. This town is dumb.

The mail came at noon. Wrote a nice long letter to Nader the Hatter and dined on Weight Watchers Chicken Chow Mein. So is Colleen home? Kelly and Barry's cars are out of the garage, which might mean Colleen's rental car may be parked there. But no sign of her yet. Did the dishes and boiled some corn on the hot plate out the back door. Briefly went to the Eastfield Mall for burgers. I talked to the clerk in Vibrations about hair color, she said the liquid works better than the paste. Pride in the Acres had their front lot all dug up with a new pipe going in even though the place is brand new. Coming home from Eastfield I saw a car with Masonic emblems and this bumpersticker: "Keep Scotland tidy, throw your rubbish in England."

Eamon called and said Nader the Hatter called him today and told him he bought a new Mazda off a schoolteacher. The asking price was $6,000 but Nader talked him down to $3,800. Nader's father is visiting him in Florida and his sister is glad to have a vacation from the old man. Eamon recalled how a lot of the kids he was in the Navy with signed up because a judge gave them a choice: jail or the service. A lot of them were tough and unmanageable. He claimed that Navy chaplains used to suck up to the officers and thereby got the best housing.

July 3, 2000

82 degrees at 2:30pm.

Kimberly-Clark has not offered a printed tissue since 1998. The Valley Advocate has a feature in their Classified ads section called Personal of the Week. Living alone I can run around like a queer slave - naked.

I stayed up reading Baptism and didn't get to bed until 1am. At 12:05am the phone rang three times and stopped. The ID said Cornell Harris - 782-8561. So I waited five minutes and called back and said, "The party you just called is now available." No response, so I said, "When you call and wake someone up you really ought to apologize." Unknown called earlier at 9:58pm. At about noon a woman called and upon hearing my voice said, "I must have the wrong number, sorry."

This morning Kelly and Brian's cars were in the driveway. I unpiled several crates of books to get into the cabinet by the refrigerator to see if Mother's ruby perfume bottle was there. It was not, but I found a treatise on religion by Addison. It's not comforting to know that I have the only set of Addison in the city. I made copies at Louis & Clark because CopyCat was closed. I also put out letters in their mailbox in front to the Hatter, Larose and Addy Falk. Then down to Reeds Landing and handed the black receptionist something for Martin. She said she'd see that she got it, but didn't thank me. I suggested that she should thank me, and she did so with a big smile.

Dined on a small can of red salmon, succotash with brown sugar and onion added plus french fries, all cooked in the microwave. Eamon called and spoke of his old friend Bill Frohmer, now in his 80's, who used to own Highland Novelty on Worthington in a building since torn down. He used to have customers coming to his shop from as far away as Maine. Years ago he retired and now lives in Longmeadow. Eamon then bemoaned the loss of all the little businesses now gone from north Main Street.

Eamon recalled how Samuel Bowles generally got a bowl of oatmeal at the Bowles Restaurant every morning. He owned the place, but he never carried any money and he never treated anybody. Bowles Restaurant was famous for its chicken pot pie and Bowles was often seen eating one at noon. He once remarked to Eamon, "People don't like to approach me, but you are different." Eamon says he talks to everybody, including janitors, claiming that janitors often see and hear things and can be valuable sources of information.

Eamon told me that the biggest funeral he ever attended was that of Samuel Cufari, known as Big Nose Sam, about fifteen or twenty years ago. He claimed to have known Cufari personally and used to dine with him at Grandma Nardi's Happyland. Once Eamon was singing Irish songs in the restaurant and Sam asked him if he knew any Italian songs, so Eamon sang some operatic material and Sam was very much pleased by it. "I knew all the gangsters," Eamon boasted, "even Skyball knew me." Eamon said that at one point Skyball's son-in-law Victor DiCaro was fooling around with Sam's young wife. In 1972 Victor DiCaro, then 29, was pulled from the Connecticut River in Windsor, Connecticut encased in a sleeping bag, wrapped in a tarp and bound with rope.

July 4, 2000

Sunny, but rain at 6:05pm.

Everything you'll ever need is available on the markdown counter or at a tag sale. Why pay more?

Corinne A. Giroux of Agawam, a clerk for the U.S. Postal Service in downtown Springfield, has died at age 58. I don't think she was related, although she did have two daughters in Westfield. William Francis Galvin is the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Reeds Landing is located at 807 Wilbraham Road in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Sweet Pea and Honey Pot are sharing a flag today. I watched some of the 4th of July events on TV, the first time I've watched television in ages. Kelly and Brian's cars are in the driveway, no sign of Michael. I watered the flowers today and picked some berries. Trees now shade the berries so there are not so many, but all I can use. The location where the tree was that was knocked down by a car years ago has sprouts coming up by the berry corner right where the tree was. Queen Anne's Lace coming out. Today I skimmed Bob Cousy's The Killer Instinct and Sara Harris' Hellhole.

Last night I heard a cricket singing at 1:35am. For breakfast I had a dropped egg on toast and peaches and berries in milk. At 9:32 I called Aunt Maria and got Bonnie who was very friendly. She said Aunt Maria is fine and they were eating breakfast. Bonnie said Shirley is in Randolph with her mother. Aunt Maria can still walk around, she goes to church, shopping and goes to the library to check out music tapes. I warned Bonnie to look out for poison ivy around the house and she said she already got it and is using calamine lotion. I said that is an old fashioned treatment and recommended Super Ivy Dry, noting that I used to do the spring clean-up over there and I sometimes got infected. It was a nice conversation. I called Mrs. Staniski and she said she is looking over old pictures and hasn't done much reading this summer. Unknown rang seven times at 8:42 and was again voiceless.

On a nail in the attic I found a plastic bag with four packages of shower rings unopened and ten individual horse blanket safety pins. Mother was very fond of these things and had stashes of them all over the house. The curtain rings were from the old Topps on Boston Road and were 21 cents per package.

July 5, 2000

The Basketball Hall of Fame officials have taken pay cuts, but they're probably only working part time summer hours anyway. Richard W. Lucius of 141 Birchland is listed in the 1970 City Directory as a firefighter. His wife is listed as a receptionist at Jilson-Thoren Opticians. The worst effect of the Vietnam War was that it legitimized a decline in civility. It underlined the hypocrisy of the Protestant establishment. Vietnam was the epitome of hypocrisy, a war in which we had no business and drafted uninformed young kids. World War II had been a just and noble war but Vietnam was not noble and the establishment lost all credibility.

Whenever I cook pork chops the smoke alarm goes off, but at least I know that it's working. Mother always said that she had hidden money under a floorboard in the attic, but I have checked and found nothing there. I suspect that at some point she retrieved it and made a CD of it someplace in fear that we would somehow move out of the house and forget it. She always wondered whether there was some over the stairwell to the attic. She told me she had hidden cash there many years ago and said she thought some may have slipped behind. I have not checked that. On Crest Street my parents had a hiding place in the crawl space in the bathroom over the toilet.

Mother saved an enormous number of obituaries of people she knew or knew of. Today I found one for Emma A. Maher, widow of Joseph J. Maher. She died in 1981 at age 75. The Maher's were our neighbors next to 37 Crest Street in a place everyone called The Castle. It was probably the original home in the area. Mrs. Maher's mother, Mrs. Guy, was a great talker over the backyard fence and Mother lacked the social skills to dismiss her. They were what might be called white trash, but what were we?

Things are back to normal over to Colleens: Michael's car is back, Kelly's is not to be seen and Barry's is in the middle. There is a wide space between Mike and Barry, so a vehicle could get out of the garage. The principal order of business today was going out to Fleet in the Acres at 8:30am to make a withdrawal, then to Pride for copies. I paused as I left to talk to Lucius, who told me he knew Eamon's brother Ray well. Lucius is an expert on falconry and once addressed the Harvard Club of Boston on the subject. He loaned me his copy of With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa (1981). I gave him a copy of my essay on functional underlining. Lucius said he believes democracy is not right for everyone on the globe at this point and I agreed.

I parked by Pride and asked the guy working on the dug up pavement what the story was and he said he was working on a leak in the gas tank and doing an environmental clean-up. I was the first customer at the bank, then I drove down to the credit union and arranged with Linda, who was sitting in for Ann Revelo who is on vacation, to transfer $3,000 from my account to a CD. I now have $6,000 in CD's there. Next I went over to the newspaper building to read today's paper, then walked downtown. I found four newspapers dated the 4th in a trashcan along Main Street. I peeked in at Jake's Cafe and Lunch by the Hotel Worthy, which Eamon says will be endangered when the new Federal Courthouse is built. The old Federal Courthouse has never been named.

I saw Congressman Neal talking with someone on the terrace of Gus & Paul's. I pretended not to notice them. At City Block they have removed the benches outside Tilly's, I guess they didn't want the bums sitting that close to them! The Union-News has a paper box in the middle of the brick area between Sovereign Bank and Tilly's. There is a cluster of paper boxes including the Valley Advocate in front of Harrison Place. There is also a cluster of boxes at one corner of Court Square. Neither Turin nor Burke were around.

The jazz band was good and I asked a band member for a card and he gave me one for Andy Jaffe but said if I wanted to book them I have to do it through a guy name Steve Warshaw. I recall that he was prominently mentioned in the June 20 story on the Grand Opening of City Block which says, "The performances were arranged by Just Sit Back and Enjoy the Ride Production Company of which he is President." Blue Moon Coffee was there with a cart with a red and white umbrella. Tilly's had 15 tables and four umbrellas up. I counted 62 people attending the concert.

A cool breeze made it an absolutely wonderful day. Eurasia has a sign in the window saying that they are moving in July to 272 Bridge Street and their Grand Re-opening will be in August. I saw three Robinson-Donovan guys, including the President of the Mass bar, buying food at the chili-dog stand. The brickwork in front of Subway, done in the 80's, is starting to crumble with bricks falling out of place. I went into Subway and Shkenna made me a well-filled deli baloney. She said business has been just great.

On my way back to the car I looked in at Champions and found 23 inside. At Pizzeria Uno they were setting up a platform for music that a guy said would start at 7pm. There were 16 customers sitting in the courtyard and 16 inside for a total of 32 customers at Uno. Returning to the car, as I drove south on Main to turn north onto Union, I saw publisher David Starr in a solid grey herringbone suit, looking older but stepping right along. Eamon jokes that Starr walks so fast so that no one can give him a sucker punch. I believe Starr steps right along so that no one will presume to stop him to talk about anything. I got home around 1:15pm just as the mailman was arriving.

Unknown called at 9:45am. Someone called from California while I was out. Butchmann's? Could also be Stanford Law Library or Luttrell. At 2:30pm I called Tera at Orchard's Valley and thanked her for a good time at their gala Grand Opening. I told her I have a couple of relatives that might end up there and said that I was the party in the leather jacket. I said the food was wonderful but they should have had a spoon in the bowl of mixed nuts. I also advised her that Reader's Digest Condensed Books are good for old folks because the stories aren't too long and the books are lightweight. I then called the Springfield Symphony regarding a postcard I got that says Smith is coming back to do Magic Flute. They said the date is May 12, 2001.

July 6, 2000

A lovely day. 66 degrees at 8:30am.

Nancy Reagan is 79 today. Funky Winkerbean is drawn by Tom Batluk. Dr. Janet L. Castleman is Director of Continuing Education at Western New England College. My DeMolay friend James Anthony Johnson Jr. was born August 8, 1940. Mary Menzel White, a Westfield High graduate, died in 1993 at age 80. Mary Menzel and her crippled husband Al were good friends of my parents to the extent that they entertained them out to Wilbraham at least once and I have pictures of them there. Mary decided she wanted better things and divorced Al to marry somebody rich out in Missouri. I understand that Mary used to use blackmail to get things out of Al, like no sex until you buy me a dishwasher. They also fought over how many children they should have. It was too bad how Al was a cripple and she left him. He died in 1986. Their son Bobby Menzel was a small, smart, hyper-active devil who went to Tech High and never returned the dime I loaned him once at the library for bus fare.

I've heard nothing from Gutterman although the lady said he was on tour and she'd place my letter on his desk for when he got back. Unknown rang seven times at 10:19am. I called the City Library today and asked for Rice Hall and asked about Winfried Noth's Handbook of Semiotics. She checked the computer and no libraries have it. Perhaps the Springfield College library does. I then left a voice mail for Brian Jablonski at Hein saying I'd like a copy of their new catalog. I left several messages for Eamon today but he never called back. Today I got a stray letter from WNEC but no replies to my job applications. I also heard from Elms and The Judge's Chambers, but nothing from Charlie Ryan or the Hungry Hill Magazine.

Dined this evening on a pork chop and the rest of the potato salad. I drove out just after 5pm on an adventure to count noses at various activities. I also put air in my tires at the Breckwood Shell. I drove downtown and parked on Salem and walked over to the porn shop on the triangle. They had no Leatherman publications, don't know what happened to them. I was wearing my white hazardous waste suit, lumberjack boots, collar, chain, dog tag and padlock with of course my head clean-shaven with my apache haircut Vaselined to stand up just right. The young fellow at the porn shop remarked that my hair "looks fuckin' good!"

There were parking places along Dwight. I arrived at City Block about 5:52pm. I counted only 84 people, a rather deserted downtown overall. B. Turin and A. Burke were both on hand as well as a Budweiser beer booth with two girls serving beers at $2.50 each. A blues band was playing called Chris McDermott Love Perimeter. A black woman with pigtails and red pants danced in front of the stage but she was the only one. I saw a few people wearing Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirts but Old Navy was more common. I approached Turin and told him about the big carillon concert at Trinity tonight. He was friendly enough. Then I approached Burke who was talking with a Jewish guy with curly brown hair and beard wearing a wonderful tye-dyed Allman Brothers 1969-1999 anniversary shirt. I admired it and he remarked, "They're still a good band." I told Burke they ought to be selling City Block shirts like that and she said "we're going to get some" but we shall see. The atmosphere feels more socially cohesive at night than at the afternoon City Block performances. The Court Square dollar hot dog stand is not there in the evening.

I saw the short, fat, redheaded woman scrounging for cans, it didn't look like she had very many. At one point I saw Gary Shepard in shorts, athletic shoes and a New Boys t-shirt talking with Turin. I counted noses before I left and counted only 106, not that good. As I was leaving a young woman came over and said she had seen me taking notes and wondered if I would tell her what for. I said I would tell her if she told me her name and she said Jane. I gave her my name and told her that I am in Who's Who. I explained to her that at one point Mayor Albano considered hiring me for Arts Commissioner, but the city never had the money. Still, I gather information on arts activities and send the city memos. I told her I think the music is a relative success, but there are not very many people here because folks can't buy anything because there are so few merchants left downtown. I said the city should be paying vendors for bringing their carts downtown instead of charging them for the privilege of coming downtown to lose money. There just isn't enough to lure people down here. I said the people in charge are just going through the motions and there is no commitment to excellence. Into nothing, nothing goes and out of nothing, nothing comes and that is the story of Springfield. She seemed a sweet, innocent thing and shook my hand and thanked me before she left.

As I departed I went through Baystate West and counted 17 in Champions. At Pizzeria Uno the band was about to start, a group called The Dayton's wearing black t-shirts that said "Oldies with a Kick." I counted 78 paying customers, almost as many as were attending the free show. My next stop was Trinity United Methodist Church on Sumner Avenue, where they were serving strawberry short cake to carillon music. I arrived at Trinity at 7:20pm and parked on the street. There were 56 cars in the parking lot and 97 people on the lawn. I didn't see the Goads but the Rev. Loesch was there in a lawn chair. I saw Ellen Balch going up for ice cream and I told her nice to see you, but she refused to take my hand so I guess she didn't think it was nice to see me. That's the same treatment she gave me at St. Andrew's tag sale, although she was polite to me at the Church in the Acres sale. I left Trinity shortly after 7:45pm.

July 7, 2000

Beautiful day, 77 degrees at 2:10pm.

Non Sequitur is by Wiley. Ann B. Tracy was born January 2, 1941. Eamon's sister Eleanor Haggarty lives at 1785 Carew Street. His sister Marion B. Rogers lives on St. James Avenue just beyond Serv-U. I recall how sad Mother and I were when Father's pet magnolia died a few years back. Picked berries and saw a cardinal sitting on the back hedge. The mail was here before 1pm. There was nothing from DESCO or works of John Wesley. Got a Honda motorcycle circular addressed to Blanche W. Miller! The guy running for senator against Hillary Clinton in NY sent me a beg letter, doubtless because I bought that anti-Clinton book. He makes a simple request for funds, but as a matter of fact does not say thank you. My Lawbook Exchange shipment was placed in the breezeway door at 2:40pm, I hollered thanks out the door.

I notice that Mr. Cohn has not been sitting in a chair in his driveway much this year, or doing much gardening. Today I went down to the Breckwood Shops and pulled a Molly Bish poster off a telephone pole. Then to Angelo's where I got a good assortment of goodies and then over to see Mrs. Staniski. As I came down her street, a black man, presumably the one who lives across the street, waved to me, so he must recognize me as a frequent visitor to Mrs. Staniski. She returned a number of books to me including the one on the Dukakis conservation scandal. She told me she never liked Governor Dukakis. I gave her a spare picture of her and Mother and another of Manuel with the organ in the church in Bethel. She is very proud of the pink hollyhocks that are blooming outside her back door about eight feet tall. The Union-News Extra was here when I got back.

Called the West Springfield Hampden Savings Bank and they are open 9 to 6 today. Eamon called and told me that he was in Old Saybrook, Connecticut yesterday, being entertained by an old friend from Amherst College named William James Lee, who majored in English at Amherst and went on to get his doctorate at Columbia. He is now an Associate Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. He took Eamon out to dinner at the Atlantic House and Eamon asked him how a word got into the dictionary. He was told that if a new word is spotted in five different sources in five years it's in. Eamon's friend also knows about the Newhouse Company and Advance Publications and said they recently bought a paper in New Jersey and four in Pennsylvania. They are now the third largest newspaper chain in the USA.

Dined on a pork chop, a cup of raspberry yogurt and a 69 cent Caesar salad. This evening I headed downtown around 7pm, arriving on Eliot around 7:25pm and walked down the hill. Approaching Main Street, I saw the city's portable music shell opened up to the south right in front of Monarch Place. There were banners for Budweiser and a long one for the Valley Advocate along the bottom of the stage. The music was supposed to start at 7:30 and end at 9:30, but they were late starting. I counted 294 people in attendance, 25 in Tilly's and 23 sitting in lawn chairs. The Budweiser cart was there as well as the Blue Moon Coffee Roasters and the chili-dog vendor. The Court Square hot dog cart was not there, it is apparently strictly a nine to five operation.

I saw three American Security Force people walking around working for the BID. I also saw the Springfield Fire Chief walking around talking to people. Plenty of people around everywhere. When the show started, the announcer said they would try to get the band to come over to Theodore's afterwards. What do you do to get the artists to come over to your restaurant after an event? The music was fine. It was a truly cosmopolitan crowd crossing all economic and racial boundaries. I counted noses again and got 332, but missed some so I estimate maybe 400 attendees but not 500.

There were about 50 people seated in the small patio inside the iron fence at Gus & Paul's at Tower Square. I walked over to Pizzeria Uno and found a whopping 102 inside the terrace. Mr. Hurwitz saw me and asked me why I didn't come inside the restaurant the last time I dropped off a memo. I said I know you are a busy man and I don't want to bother you. I congratulated him on the crowd and said it proves that he has the best restaurant in town. My impression was that the paying crowd at Uno was classier than those attending the free show. Yuppies.

July 8, 2000

An absolutely lovely day, 65 degrees at 8:17am.

If God had wanted our genomes mapped he'd have made us out of graph paper!

Sandra Sedacca is the Dean for Development and External Relations at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Leslie A. Morris is Curator of Manuscripts at the Harvard College Library. Vincent J. McCorkle is President of the Sisters of Providence Health System. Edwards Books is having a Harry Potter party at 11:30am with chocolate cake. What you have to say for Harry Potter is that in an age when books are going out of style, Harry Potter is reminding people that books still exist.

I drove over to Feeding Hills at 8:45am to spy on Aunt Maria. Her lawn is mowed, but I think the flower circle was never cut down. My Uncle's old shop is engulfed in sumac which is bad. There was no one in sight, although next door a forest green wagon is for sale by the driveway. I then went up to Stop&Shop where I found no rotisserie chickens available until 11am. There were lots and lots of posters and notices on the Stop&Shop bulletin board. I saw that the name of the store manager is George Miller, I'll have to follow up on that. I came through the Old Navy store, their prices seem reasonable but as a leatherman hippie I can forget the duds. Next I went to the Cecchi Farmstand for peas that were $2.49 per pound. The $1.79 per pound peas were all pods so I left.

Then over by Strathmore in West Springfield, where I parked at Westbank and walked across the street to the Insurance Company of New England. In the 1984 City Directory there were many insurance agencies in there, but now it appears that all there are is Fidelity upstairs and Special Risks Ltd, James F. Sullivan Insurance Agency and Gallagher Insurance out back. The sign on the door clearly says Saturday open 9 to 1, but the place was locked up tight. There was just a couple of cars in the immense parking lot that backs up to the West Springfield Fire Headquarters. The back door says it's for Fidelity workers, reminding me of the old Fire & Marine where the workers were not supposed to use the front door.

Since I was arriving at 9:15am, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and walked all around the building. I saw a police officer, a short, broad shouldered young fellow watching the Bell Atlantic workers on the corner. I asked him whether he knew when things opened up over at the Insurance Center. He frankly admitted that things were a bit boring watching the Bell Atlantic workers, so he welcomed the opportunity to assist me by walking around the building. He checked each of the building's doors and concluded that there was no one inside. I thanked him as I said it is good for the police to know what's going on with all the properties in town. I went back to my car and drove over to the Hometown Buffet for breakfast, but it turned out they were not serving breakfast. I got the chicken for $6.80 with no cottage cheese. I miss their liver and onions. I decided to go over to Bradlees and walked around. I haven't been in a Bradlees in ages, but I always liked them. They had a big pile of Harry Potter books, which are very fat at 700 pages.

Just outside the large mall area is a little garden with benches, a wonderful touch in a crassly commercial development. As I was sitting on a bench I was amazed to see my former law professor Denis Binder strolling towards the toy store. He came over and we had a good chat. I told him that he was one of WNEC's best law school professors and he thanked me. He told me he moved out of the Springfield area four years ago but had left WNEC sometime before that. Biden said he is in the area visiting and asked what I was doing. I told him and he congratulated me on my interests. He recalled that I lived in "that old house down the street from the college." I also told him about Albano and how he was defeated in his attempt to turn Northgate Plaza into a baseball stadium. We wished each other well, and running into him was a wonderful surprise.

Back home, I stopped by Irving Cohn's just as the Penniman's were arriving. Irving was sitting in his special chair reading magazines. I told him he could keep the book I lent him on Famous Pollacks in American History. He said I shouldn't give it away, especially since it had the author's signature in it. I replied that someone of partly Polish descent was best to have it. He told me was down South recently for the naming of a great-grandchild on Myra's line and he remarked about how everyone down South is very polite. Mr. Cohn said that people don't read books like they used to. He should know, he was the synagogue librarian! Cohn also told me that he's afraid that the Jews are losing their identity, but I said Judaism asks their followers to believe less nonsense than Christianity, so the Jews will probably outlast the Christians. I gave Mrs. Penniman the latest issue of the Boston Herald and then home.

The Springfield Phone Book has the downtown skyline on its cover, but a tree completely blots out Baystate Waste. It is strange to show Monarch Palace and the Sovereign building but not Tower Square. When I got inside I called Stop&Shop and asked for George Miller, but they said he wouldn't be in until Monday. I then called the Insurance Center and a recording told me they are closed weekends during the summer. I left a message telling them about my adventure this morning and suggested they should send me a letter of apology and a check because I made a commercially useful suggestion.

July 9, 2000

Today's Doonesbury comic is fabulous with George W. Bush playing Want to be a Millionaire? and using a lifeline to call his father while a computer geek shouts that he should call McCain instead. Bush is a jerk and after his father and Quayle I wonder what credibility WASPS have left. Listened to the evening news. The Pope, head of the largest organization of homosexuals in the world, doesn't like the Gay Pride Festival in Rome this weekend. He says it is an "insult" during the Grand Jubilee Year. The Orangemen are making trouble in Ireland, their leader says he won't disavow violence since Jerry Adams won't disavow it. I also watched the grand beginning of Real to Reel's tour of Catholic sites in Europe hosted by a young Mark Giza. My cousin Guy Wilson was an agent for the Continental Insurance Company in 1931.

A busy morning. I mowed the lawn from 7 to 9:15 and sat for a break of fifteen minutes on the bench beside Colleen's goldfish pond. She has made a lovely place over there. I did some housecleaning, after which I did a load of laundry. I also cooked up a kettle of tomatoes, shelled some peas and put them in the refrigerator and then took a bath. At 10:15am I drove out and dined on hotcakes but no sausage at the McDonald's on Allen Street and read the paper, which says that the Cecil economic development report has been delayed until the fall. With so much up in the air with the new Hall, Civic Center and City Block, how could Cecil make concrete suggestions with so much quicksand? On the way to McDonald's, I left Adam's book and the current Hamilton catalog on the hood of Lucius' red Cadillac. His mower was close by so he probably just finished mowing his lawn.

Arriving back home, I noticed Mrs. Penniman working on the flowers around her mailbox and we chatted. She remarked that her house was the first to be built on that side of the street. She told me they sold their home in Vermont, which was assessed at $70,000 for $45,000 just to get rid of it, but still had to pay a 5% sales tax! Her son still lives up there and owns 35 acres with a log cabin on it. Mrs. Penniman, who used to be a high ranking woman with the Third National Bank, said she asked someone at Hampden Bank about a new bond and the clerk said she didn't know anything about them. Mrs. P. said that when she worked at the bank, "If I'd given anybody an answer like that I would have been fired!" She then complained that all her husband will eat is french fries and burgers, if she makes him something nice he won't touch it. I said you have to watch out for the colon but she replied, "The way things are it doesn't really matter does it?" She said she believes he should enjoy what he can and I said that she is correct.

Returning to my house, I dined on Weight Watcher's Swedish Meatballs and a tossed salad. I picked a lot of black raspberries again today. The mail brought no business card from Steve Warshaw. I called Dean Florian and told his answering machine to call me back. I then began reading Father's autobiographical manuscript to see if there is anything in it that I can use for the centenary of Monarch.

July 10, 2000

Sunny and mild, 79 degrees at 12:30pm.

George Bush addressed the NAACP today, dirty Dick Dole boycotted them in 1996. Mrs. Doris Cooper was a housekeeper making 25 cents per hour in Bethel, Vermont in 1933. Frank M. Wilson lived in Bethel in 1935. Heinz is making green ketchup because children want something other than red. Atty. Mark E. Salamone has a new commercial.

I lifted my 25 pound barbell with my left arm five times this morning, the best I have ever done. Weakling is making progress. I am wearing my black Pathfinder Auto Body t-shirt and my purple briefs with my red and black band Century brand oriental martial arts jock over it, plus my engineer's boots, shaved head with greased up apache cut plus my collar, padlock and dog tag. Then off I went to Barnes & Noble to buy a copy of With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa (1981) by Eugene B. Sledge. Lucius loaned me his copy and I found it good reading. I especially enjoyed the account of how the kid's parents didn't want him to drop out of college to go to officer training school with the Marines:

Most of us felt we had joined the Marines to fight, but here we were college boys again. The situation was more than many of us could stand. At the end of the first semester, ninety of us - half the detachment - flunked out of school so we could go into the corps as enlisted men. Captain Payzant said he admired our spirit for wanting to get into the war.

That's as fine an example as you'll find of a young man's romanticism of war. Unfortunately, Barnes & Noble didn't have the book. They told me they had 1,500 Harry Potter books but they were all sold out and they were hoping for more by the end of the week. I asked the clerk Tom to see if he could find Gus Edwards in his computer and he could not. I then asked him to check my name in his computer but he could find none of my books. I did however buy A New Key to Guatemala by Richard Harris, The Pleasures of Murder by Jonathan Goodman and Music Reference and Research Materials (1996). I saw a volume on spiritual literacy, but it was $5.95 and I wasn't going to pay that.

Nobody said anything about the way I was dressed at Barnes & Noble, nor at Louis & Clark where I bought three stamps and mailed a check to Allen Gold of the Appellate Tax Board in Boston. On the way home I also swung by the Goodwill at the X. When I got back, I saw that there were lots of phone calls from Unknown and one call from someone named Jeffery Chapell at 782-3693. Eamon called and said he is visiting his former supervisor from when he sold Encyclopedia Britannica, George Patrick Brennan, for a few days in Nahant where Brennan lives near the Howard Johnson family. I called Gouzanous at Edwards who said my Microsoft stock certificates will be along in due course.

The TV22 noon news reported that Teresa E. Regina will be the acting superintendent until a replacement for Dr. P. Negroni is selected sometime next year. So we won't have a new superintendent by fall. One father killed another father at a hockey game and was charged with manslaughter. His attorney says he is "very remorseful' but I say lock the bum up and throw away the key. Two organizers of an S&M party in Attleboro have been arrested. I'd like to hear more about that.

July 11, 2000

Beautiful out, 71 degrees at 8am. Gas is $1.65 at Mobil, $1.59 at Pride.

Tilly's Restaurant and Pub is having a concert by the Jimmy Buffett cover band Key West Trio on August 19th. James L. Kemper was the President of the Automobile Underwriters of the Lumberman's Mutual Casualty Company in 1935. The Insurance Center of New England was incorporated in 1866. Few figures in legal history lend themselves to exciting biography as notably as Sir Edward Coke. Coke's Reports in Verse is the most conspicuous early volume of English legal poetry.

Today I am wearing my lumberjack boots with purple topped socks, my purple briefs with the oriental jock over them and my very long purple and white striped shirt. I am a prisoner of purple. I went out to Wilbraham to pay my taxes on my land, but stopped at the Acres to get my Ford certificates out of my deposit box at Fleet. I noticed on the way that Mary Alice Stusick's immense mailbox (probably so large in order to hold sheet music and earlier, her father's medical stuff) has been vandalized and was lying on the ground. I also noted that Sampson in the Acres now has a new building backed up to some nice residences on Wilbraham Road who probably don't like it very much.

I arrived at Fleet in the Acres at 9:05am and the Wilbraham dentist's wife I met at Reed's Landing was there and we said hi. Fleet was serving nice cookies of regular size and pink lemonade. Why? Customer Appreciation Week. There was a line, but Reardon let me into the vault and I pulled out the Ford certificates while she waited. Out at 9:20am. I came through the Goodwill store, the prints of Indians are gone. I don't know when they disappeared because I haven't been in the Goodwill in a while. I bought stamps there and deposited my letters in the mailbox out front. I also bought a purple Dunkin Donuts 50th Anniversary t-shirt and a beautiful tye-dyed t-shirt of the old sort.

Left there at 9:44am and then down to Louis & Clark, where I got today's paper out of the trash. Why pay more? A businessman cast a stare at my costume. Driving downtown along where the triangular Avalon block once stood, there is now a triangular park with a round garden in the middle and a sign saying it is maintained by the Hampden County Sheriff's Department and Longmeadow Flowers. Very nice. I parked on Salem at 10:20am and walked down the hill. I went into the SIS building, but there were no free BusinessWests at the Chamber of Commerce. I looked into Fleet downtown and they too were celebrating Customer Appreciation Week, but with danish so small they were a veritable dab of dough. I wonder if they're afraid that street people might come in for treats? I swung by City Hall to pay my taxes, and then to Subway where I got a deli sub from Shkena.

Coming home, I ran into Mrs. Vickers coming down my street and we had a conversation. She didn't know that Mother had died, so I told her I would leave her an obituary inside her breezeway door. She said she is now 79 and her husband who worked at Springfield College is 82. I asked her if she likes the current Basketball Hall of Fame and she replied, "I don't, things aren't the way they were, it used to be like a family." Someone told her that Figures & Fitness was invited to come downtown to the Hall, but they refused.

I told her that is the way downtown revitalization has operated for decades, enticing existing firms to come downtown where they soon fail. StageWest was one of the first they tricked that way and they soon wished they had stayed in West Springfield. Gus & Paul's and Dunkin Donuts came down, but Friendly's had the brains to get out and so did Penny's. Eamon's friend the tailor has regretted moving to Tower Square. Monarch got suckered into going downtown and they had the biggest crash of all. I gave her Eamon's phone number and she recognized his name as someone whose letter to the editor on the schools she liked. I mentioned the stadium fiasco and she said someone from Raipher Pelligrino's office came to her house to see if she really signed the petition against it.

In the mail today, Dean M. Florian, President of the Insurance Center of New England, sent me a $25 gift certificate and a letter saying, "I am very sorry that you were inconvenienced Saturday morning....I also totally agree with you that a complaint is a gift and was received in exactly that spirit by me." A fine, professional reply. It would be nice if the West Springfield Police Department also inquired, in any case, there was no way that they could say I missed the sign, there was no sign and the cop saw that there was none. The mail also brought my shipment of books from Oak Knoll and a bill from Bob Fleck. No Unknown calls today.

July 12, 2000

Lovely day, 79 degrees at 1:50pm.

There was a big fire overnight in the block on the corner of State and Hancock across from Walgreens and abutting the Baptist Church. They say it was caused by kids playing with matches and apparently the tenants were all minorities. Once those were nice blocks. TV22 News said the Supremes concert tomorrow at the Hartford Civic Center has been cancelled because they sold only 1,400 tickets out of 10,000. Randall's Farm is located in Ludlow, Massachusetts. Mary Ann Reardon is a Fleet Bank Customer Service Rep. at the Sixteen Acres branch. I have a balance of $51,685.80 at Fleet Bank in a CD at 8%.

Last night I was working on my 1969 St. George and the Dragon jigsaw puzzle. St. George is a special interest of mine and this puzzle was excessively difficult. I haven't done many puzzles since Mother died. I sat out on the breezeway in an elementary school child's chair while I worked on the puzzle. Today the trash collectors came by at 7am, then the street sweepers came by. I went out about 1:50pm and made copies. As I left, I saw a chipmunk disappear into a hole about a yard from where the magnolia was. CopyCat is charging only 3 cents for copies during the month of July as their Customer Appreciation gesture. Wish I had more copying projects lined up. I also paid 77 cents to mail my cheese complaint to Food Mart. After mailing the cheese letter it was 2:45pm.

My next stop was the Sixteen Acres Library, all dressed up in the same costume I wore yesterday with my oriental jock and purple shorts. The Sixteen Acres Library was passing out tickets for a free coffee at the Goodwill. I spoke to the supervisor in the Children's Room and she said they have no microfilm machine. I asked how large a staff they have on duty and she said the number varies but they usually have three on circulation, three on reference and two in the Children's Room. That makes eight.

I distinctly remember that in the mid-1980's, when I had just begun my researches into law and was reading certain of their reference books cover to cover, they sometimes had only two librarians on hand, a full librarian and an assistant to handle check-ins, of which Mrs. Pelto was one. At night, when kids were doing homework, they might have four in the form of a reference librarian, a children's librarian and two assistants on check-out. Gernerally, if the Reference Librarian was there another head librarian was not needed. Now, with twice as many, obviously the staff has become bloated with political patronage hires. When they moan about funding shortages, the Library Association never mentions the extent to which they have padded the payroll. Lean can be better but they don't think that way around here.

I left the Acres Library at 3:10pm, after glancing through the Yellow Pages of the Boston phone book for used bookstores. I went to the Eastfield Mall, and before I went in I checked the Rules and Regulations on the door and there was nothing forbidding swim trunks, so in I went. I think where Old Navy is now is where McCrory's used to be. At McDonald's they had no chicken nuggets on sale for 99 cents as advertised, but they offered me a fish sandwich instead which was just fine and I also bought a small order of fries. I sat down by myself at a table away from the center of things. In due course a couple of kids came by and asked if I'd buy them a pack of cigarettes. I said no and they made some jeering comment and moved on.

As I was finishing up, I noticed a fat security officer staring at me off in the distance about 30 yards away. I continued to finish up and dumped my trash in the recepticle, noticing as I did so that the security officer was on his walkie-talkie. I left the mall in a leisurely fashion, and as I reached the car I saw that two security guards were running after me. The one in the white shirt did the talking, but the black fattie was with him. I asked his name and he said Tom and I told him my name was Jack. Tom told me that some women were offended by the way I was dressed and politely asked if I would wear a little more next time. That was the way he put it. This incident ended at 3:44pm and I was home by 3:50pm. I drove home behind a green Cadillac like Eamon's that said 32 V Northstar on the back.

While I was out Unknown had called seven times. No sign of my John Wesley book in the mail, but a nice letter from Hein and the Boston Book Company in Jamaica Plains. Also, got a lavish postcard from Leonard Ekkowitz of Readville, Massachusetts. I called Kelly and reminded her of the upcoming recycling days and to put her leaves out. She thanked me. I decided to call the Eastfield Mall and spoke to Tom. I told him I read the mall rules before I went in and there was nothing about shorts. He replied, "We can't post every single good behavior rule, if nobody complained there wouldn't have been any problem at all." I asked, "What if I come in tomorrow in an orange jumpsuit?" He said, "I don't think anyone will be offended by it, but if someone is offended, well, this is private property." I congratulated him on his politeness and he thanked me and that was that.

July 13, 2000

Getting warmer, 68 degrees at 7:30 this morning.

The news had something about building a new $600 million dollar particle accelerator. I wonder if cousin David Miller is connected with this? Marcella Uszynski was a Sales and Service Representative at Fleet Bank in 1996. Fred Bassett was one of Mother's favorite cartoons and today's comic had the rarely seen Tucker Twins. I think it is a British cartoon and I have more than once caught them running the same cartoon twice. Once I wrote to the paper about it, but received no reply.

A wrong number called looking for Michael. Dined on a tomato and cheese sandwich plus fruit and liquids. I completed the St. George puzzle in the early hours and to my utter delight all the pieces are there. It is a treasure and I'll display it on the board on the breezeway table for a few weeks. The black background of the puzzle was difficult. The previous owners of this puzzle ruled ballpoint pen lines across it in several places as an additional clue that the pieces are going in line where they should. I've never seen this technique before and I don't approve of it but it is a phenomenon to be observed.

I drove out around 9am and made copies at CopyCat, got veggies at Angelo's (not much). On my way I left Art in America and a couple of other things at the Cohn's. I also left the Boston Herald on Penniman's chair. I then came through the Boston Road Big Y where I bought nothing but should have because I have coupons. Then down to the Freihofer store where there was very little merchandise but I got a nice cherry pie (I should have gotten two). Then to the Bank of Western Mass to make a withdrawal and from there to the Lowe's hardware store seeking something to frost glass with. The service was ghastly. There was nobody but nobody in the paint department, but fortunately a man delivering paint and putting his wares on the shelf directed me to a woman in the next department. She said they have frosted film that you can stick on glass, but nothing that can be applied by brush. I thanked her.

I went to Red Wing Shoes and was waited on by a very sophisticated light-skinned Latino. Their lumber boots are still $212 and engineer's boots are $199. I paid a lot less for both last year on sale. From there I went to Stop&Shop where with coupons I reduced a $54 bill to $44 and stocked up on canned goods. I also bought a rotisserie chicken for $4.99. I went to the bulletin board in the lounge area where three old ladies were huddled, one wearing a White Street Elementary School t-shirt, and even with my defective hearing I overheard one say, "Look how he's dressed! Isn't that awful!" So that's what they thought of my apache haircut and biker jacket. The mail was here about 1:35pm and I got a letter from Social Security, a letter from the Boston Book Company and a check for $84.39 from Fleet Bank for interest. I was getting about $120 a month when I had my account at Bank of Boston.

WFCR says former Mayor Bob Markel lost out in the competition for Lowell City Manager. He is still one of three finalists for the job in Chelsea. Eamon called and he is back from Nahant where he was entertained by his friend the former head of sales for Britannica Encyclopedias in New England. They saw the tall ships from a distance. Eamon told me he just got back at noon and went straight to get fish and chips at the Greek place up at Liberty Mall. He says they are very good. I told Eamon about Skooters in Pine Point and he said he'll try it sometime. Eamon did some investigating into the city's bond rating. Standard & Poor's was at triple B and Moody's was worse at baa3. The newspaper printed only Standard & Poor's rating. Moody's told Eamon that although Springfield has a poor rating, West Springfield has a good one because "it has a more substantial tax base."

July 15, 2000

Lovely morning, 72 degrees at 8am.

Former President Gerald Ford is 87. Diane M. Way is Director of Sales and Marketing at the Shelburne Bay Senior Living Community in Shelburne, Vermont. At Colby, Danny Parish was a very meek fellow who I think died young. Classmate Hank Wingate's dad ran International Nickle. He was tall and personable but not the best of scholars.

My book Curiosities and Law of Wills sells for $40. My book Legal Laughs: A Joke for Every Jury (1993) sells for $48.50. In the old days, when Edwards Books was on the first floor of Tower Square, they had a much larger store. Today, on the second level, it is slimmed down but more selective, a more high toned clientele and is less crowded. They always had a better new books section than Johnson's. What Johnson's had was their wonderful used books section. Today I came across Mother's gallery of favorite cards, most of them from the 1970's. Wrong number Wendy Reardon from 782-8402 called looking for Jackie at 6:50pm. Unknown rang at 8:20pm.

I live in a four room house with an unfinished basement and attic with an attached garage. Wore my black dungarees and t-shirt today. I left home shortly after nine and sent mail to Jacqueline Newman and the Boston Book Company, Acorn Books and Leondra Exkowitz. I sent him some nice stuff but didn't invite him for a visit. Officer Phaneuf, now retired, was coming at a good rate of speed as he pulled into a parking spot at the Breckwood Shops. I greeted him as he was headed into the photo shop and he was friendly enough but said he didn't like my hair-do. Then I drove down Alden to Hancock, then up Hancock but there was a roadblock one block south of State Street, so I went up and down Eastern Avenue and out to the Square. The block destroyed by fire is not the block on State but just behind it, leaving a missing tooth as it were on the street.

On Taylor I saw David Allessio, who attends the auto park for city, standing out front reading a book on military affairs. I went into the Phoenix Tobacconist and the proprietor is a large man with whom I struck up a conversation. He told me that when Monarch went into bankruptcy they owed him $145.00 for newspapers and he had to file all kinds of documents before he was granted a fraction of a share in one of the derivative companies, which turned out to be worth 19 cents. I asked if he would sell it to me for $25 and he said he'll look for it. He was a supporter of the casino and baseball stadium, feeling that they would have helped his business. He also told me he hates David Starr and feels that downtown has no future. Part of the problem he claims is that the city is too concerned about doing things for minorities. I told him I would be visiting him again.

The photo gallery in Tower Square is getting new furniture. I walked around and told them it looked nice. Went over to Fleet and they still had mini-danish and coffee out for Customer Appreciation. Then into Sovereign Bank and Gadzilia was on her way to lunch carrying a sandwich wrapped in foil and a big bag of green grapes. The supervisor Scully cheerfully waited on me. I wandered through City Block looking in trash cans for today's paper and finally succeeded. The Hawaiian drink man was not around and the Budweiser trailer booth appears to have been left there permanently. There was a Westfield Flowers wagon and they wanted me to know that they deliver in Springfield. A vendor was selling hot dogs for a dollar at Court Square with a line of customers.

Tilly's had fifteen tables, 6 with umbrellas. Music blared from two speakers in front of Tilly's and I counted 26 people eating there. Ann Burke was there in a tight fitting black dress and Turin was around in a tan suit talking on a cell phone. I encountered Guizonis on his way to A.G. Edwards and he gave me a bright smile as I was scrounging for a newspaper in a trash receptacle. A fellow and girl holding hands went by on rollerblades. There were also people on bicycles riding past. I recognized Nader the Hatter's black friend walking by wearing a Panama hat. There was a black fellow fishing cans out of the trash barrels. A woman in a Dunkin Donuts waitress uniform walked past and said, "I like your hair."

I meandered down to the South End and checked out the set up for the Italian Festival. There were lots of food booths and the city's music shell was set up. But nothing was open yet, no literature or anything blowing around the street, not much to report. The Tony Scibelli statue looks great with nice flowers planted around it. Overall, business in the South End appears much healthier than in the core of the city's downtown. I walked back to Tower Square and City Block and noted that the Glenn Law Offices are off Main Street over a fancy men's clothier. I noticed how bad the woodwork is on that lovely Worcester Federal Savings Building. Inside, I found copies of a booklet about how basketball was invented at Springfield College. I noticed some kind of Consumer office presided over by an older black woman named Barbara, who was very reluctant to tell me who they were and what they were doing.

On my way back to the car, I walked through the SIS building and there is a little pizza place there called Buona Pizza. I asked the woman working there whether the City Block events help her business and she replied that it causes "quite a cut" in their regular sales because the lunch crowd goes to City Block instead of her shop. I paused at the St. Francis Chapel, which may be closing, and said I hope they will continue their ministry because I enjoy hearing the Bishop talk there each year if the weather is not too bad.

On the evening news, Dan Elias on TV22 said that the first in a series of speakouts on the baseball stadium was held last night and only a dozen or so showed up. However, they came up with seventeen viable suggestions from local residents of where to put a stadium besides Northgate. Eamon called and told me that a friend at the Department of Education told him that Education Commissioner Dave Driscoll is "a drunk who spends all his time in a Malden bar." Eamon was also told by his friend that that the Department is afraid of getting an audit and everyone has been warned not to talk to anybody. The Springfield paper reported recently that Mass Special Education has been "in longstanding serious non-compliance with Federal regulations" and they are attaching special conditions to the money they receive. Massachusetts is one of only four states with such restrictions. The paper said Driscoll couldn't be reached for comment. Eamon moaned, "Massachusetts is crooked and that's all there is to it."

July 17, 2000

74 degrees at 11am, warm and humid all day.

On the TV40 news George Bush said he wants a vice-president with whom he can get along and who will be loyal to the administration. In other words, a Bush yes-man. I wonder if Bush is taking tips from his dad, which is how we got the stupid Dan Quayle. Al Gore was saying he will appoint Supreme Court Justices who support a woman's right to choose. I also support a woman's right to choose. Bush waffles on abortion. At Colby, Harmon J. Withee was a Springfield person but not a friend. He was a staunch member of the jock, anti-intellectual faction. Ellen M. McCue was one of the most respected women leaders at Colby, not fat, just very solid. Larry R. Mitchell and Samuel V. Hunt were also Colby classmates.

The albino milkweed came up again this year outside my parent's bedroom window. It is small and fragile as always. Quite a bit of rain overnight and a little water got through the hatchway. Spent some time cleaning up down cellar and then went to McDonald's for hotcakes, no sausage. Copies of The Churchwarden were kicking around McDonald's and appears to be several sheets of nonsense. When I got back there was a Ryder Truck backed up to Lynch's garage. Mrs. Lynch told me they have bought a place in East Forest Park because they wanted something bigger. They sold it quietly, with no sign and nothing in the paper, to an unmarried man. Mrs. Lynch said the closing was Friday. I told her they have been wonderful neighbors.

Scholar's Bookshelf cashed my check, but where are my John Wesley books? I have been doing some retrospective reading in my diary and found the Northgate Plaza auction prospectus from October, 1996 and I'll give it to Karen Powell. Went out again at 12:15pm to visit two Open Houses. First I dropped off a bag at the Vickers that included the basketball history booklet I picked up downtown the other day. 175 Sherwood is a mess and needs a lot of work. It might have been a nice house years ago but nobody has kept it up. It belongs to a member of the clergy who has been transferred to Pittsfield. 2415 Wilbraham Road is one of the older houses abutting the Armenian Apostolic's new church. It is real small but nice. I drove around the Sabis School and parked on Glenoak Drive while I was in the house. There's a new house going up in a vacant lot opposite where Tinkham enters Wilbraham Road. Finally, I went to a tag sale at 157 Prouty but they had nothing.

When I got home, Claudia Koppelman's Jack McQuaide called saying all is well. He runs the office and handles the books, saying he and Claudia have "a relationship that works." He told me Claudia was at a bridal shower. Nancy called from Alan G. Vadnais (568-7725) and was gregarious as always. She said she is 46 and has been a real estate broker for Landry-Lyons for over two years. Nancy completed STCC as a medical assistant. I then called Gordon Paving to come and fill in the cracks in my driveway. Next I called Sovereign Bank and spoke to an easily audible Chris Matt about my account. He told me, "I'm not bringing up your social security number nor do I have your name." So there is another very sloppy bit of business on Sovereign's part, although I congratulated Chris on his politeness. Finally, I called Edwards Books and Ruth said they'll have my book about noon tomorrow. She'll call when it arrives.

There is an interview in the business section of the paper with the female head of the Mass Department of Tourism, who says convention and business visitors are the least significant part of the tourist business. Eamon called and said Nader the Hatter sent him a letter with pictures of Florida. Eamon then remembered that the old Our Lady of Hope Church stood for many years after the current one was built and they held minstrel shows there in which Eamon used to perform. Eamon also recalled how there used to be a Father Cruise at Our Lady of Hope, but he never knew anything about him. He said Father Power had a brother who worked for GM and every year Father Power got a brand new Cadillac. Someone told Eamon that Cardinal Spellman was a homosexual who used his contacts at the Vatican to try to prevent Fulton Sheen from becoming a bishop.

July 19, 2000

Sunny, hot and humid, 75 degrees at 7am.

They had a big parade in England today for the Queen Mother's birthday. I'm really fed-up with British royalty. The Boston Red Sox have the most expensive ticket prices in all of baseball. President Caprio of WNEC lives on Seven Wagon Drive. TV22 had a story tonight on the 65th anniversary of Friendly's with an interview with Curtis Blake. Friendly's has a new commercial advertising their "crispy clams." They were never a standard part of their menu in the past when Mother tried to get them.

Springfield's baseball stadium at Pynchon Park burned to the ground in 1966. Was up at 6am, did two loads of laundry, caulked the shingles over the hatchway, picked up twigs in the yard, picked four ripe blackberries, did the dishes, cleaned house and took a bath. Both The Reminder and the mail came around noon. Dined on hamburger and some tomatoes on toast. Ruth called from Edwards Books and said my book has arrived, but I told her I would not be coming to get it today. Sara from 21st Century Associates of California called and asked me if I have a net worth of over a million dollars. I told her to get lost. I then called Abercrombie & Fitch in Holyoke and told them they are overpriced and should be more like Old Navy or Bradlees. They hung up in my ear.

I planned to visit Mrs. Staniski today but she was busy because Carol was coming over. The Sixteen Acres Civic Association held their monthly meeting tonight at the Church in the Acres on Wilbraham Road and I went. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss possibilities for a site for a baseball stadium and get an update from Al Karoack on Dr. Courniotes' request for a zone change for his property. This is his third attempt to get it rezoned so he can put up a big medical building. He is currently using his property improperly as he is supposed to live there but actually lives in Monson, so I am naturally against any accommodation of him. I left for the meeting at 6:45pm, bringing with me a can of hot chili for their food drive for the Open Pantry.

As I came into the church I was greeted by Atty. Marshall Moriarty and his wife. Moriarty confirmed that the Basketball Hall of Fame is in trouble and desperate for money. I told Marshall that he can put his campaign sign on my lawn, but not one for George W. Bush. The Powells were standing off to one side so I chatted with them for a few minutes. Karen agreed with me that City Block is just a mask for the fact that there is absolutely nothing going on downtown. City Councilor Bill Foley arrived wearing a suit, but everyone else was dressed casually with Marshall wearing white shorts and sandals, as was his wife Sandy. She is a lovely person who told me she went to UMass. I asked Councilor Foley point blank whether he received the memo I sent him and he replied, "Yes, Attorney Miller, I appreciate that." Mr. Boyle also thanked me for what I sent him and told me about the Summer Reading Club.

Mrs. McCarthy from Discount Liquors was there and later sat with the Powells. Richard Greenberg, a bright fellow, introduced himself and I gave him Eamon's number. At one point Foley asked the audience whether they should continue the effort to bring a baseball stadium to Springfield and most people raised their hands against it. Foley is the co-chair of the search committee with Stephen Clay. Other members include Tim Ryan, Brian Santaniello, Bud Williams and Bo Sullivan.

When I got back, Eamon called and said he saw an airplane go by today trailing a banner for the Hall of Fame. I told him it must be April Fools in July. Eamon claims he got a lot of calls today from his phone editorial on the widespread truancy in the Springfield public schools. He also told me that he has been told that the Greek restaurant he was recommending the other day for fish and chips actually has a filthy kitchen. That caused him to recall the old Ding Ho Restaurant on Ferry Street, which Eamon once inspected for the city and says he never saw so many cockroaches.

Eamon told me he was talking to an old Italian friend recently who used to have a tool designing place on St. James Avenue that has since relocated to machine shops in Agawam and West Springfield. He told Eamon that the Basketball Hall of Fame "is dead, they don't have any money." His friend claimed that the NBA doesn't want anything to do with them and their financial problems are far more serious than they are letting on. Eamon's friend thinks that the City Block events are "a feel-good, stop-gap measure to cover up for the fact that there's nothing going on down there." Eamon told his friend that the relocation managers and financial planners all know that Springfield is controlled by an insider clique that has wrecked the city's chances for economic development. Eamon's friend agreed with him and predicted that the new addition planned for the Civic Center "won't amount to anything" and added that other venues like the Eastern States have "gone past the Civic Center like they're standing still." I asked Eamon for his friend's name but he declined.

July 20, 2000

Lovely all day today, 68 degrees at 9:55am.

President Clinton is in Japan, the news had Peter Jennings interviewing Eugene B. Sledge on the battle of Okinawa. The George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum's collection of Chinese cloisonne is one of the largest outside China. The local office of the Census Bureau at 1441 Main Street in Springfield is closing at the end of August. Susanne Woods is the Provost at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts. At Colby, Ann B. Tracy was black-haired and a classics English major. She dated Jerry Zietara. After Colby, she went to Brown and did a book about Gothic novels which I have. She now teaches in New York and is a correspondent of Gary Miles.

Today I dined on a cup of yogurt and a Healthy Choice Country Baked Chicken Dinner. I used up the last picture on my film by taking a shot of Sweet Pea and Honey Pot among my Black-eyed Susans. I dropped off a paper at the Penniman's and materials at the Cohns, who were still eating breakfast. I saw the mailman turning around at the end of Talbot Road, he recognized me and waved. Then I went to the Breckwood Shops to get the paper, which had an article about Peter Picknelly wanting to build a hotel by the Basketball Hall of Fame. At Louis & Clark the new manager of CopyCat got in line behind me and said they do Ken Jorgensen's cards for him.

Then out to the Acres to cash a check in my boots, jacket, collar and haircut. No problem. The bank manager is Sheila M. Nadolski, who said she used to work for Valley Bank. Then over to the Acres Branch Library to photocopy a postcard of the Billings Library in Burlington. The librarian, Nora Couture, told me that the Summer Reading Club kids get a free ride on Picknelly's boat if they bring a paying adult. Then I took several pictures of the front of the library on my new roll of film. I dropped my used film off at Walmart, which had signs all over the place promoting $200 off all rider mowers. Good thing Mother didn't see them as she wanted me to buy a rider mower, about the last thing before she died, but I dissuaded her. I was home by 10:20am.

The mail came at noon and still no Wesley books. I called Chris Kilroy, vice-president of marketing at Smith & Wesson, but he was out to lunch. So I spoke with Director of Marketing Ken Jorgensen and he didn't know the answer to any of my questions. Unknown called. At 11:30am Eamon called and said that Mercy Hospital will be taken over by Baystate Medical Center in the coming months. He also wondered what the cost will be for that fancy brick guardhouse they are making at Forest Park. I recalled that the guardhouse they built at Harvard yard a decade ago ran over $100,000.

We talked about the story in the paper about how Picknelly may build at the Hall. Eamon said the Hall of Fame is in a lot of trouble and they need Picknelly to bail them out. Eamon also said the closing of the St. Francis Chapel is as bad a blow to downtown as a business closing. Eamon recalled how the nuns at Cathedral always gave the athletes passing grades. He said once Monsignor Leary came to recruit him for the glee club so that he could be "more than just a barroom singer." Eamon refused, saying he had jobs after school and had to save for college. The nuns were displeased that he refused the Monsignor's personal request but Eamon never did join the glee club.

John Quill, perhaps the nation's oldest television meteorologist will officially retire from WWLP-TV22 on August 12 when he marks his 84th birthday. On the TV22 noon news Mayor Albano and Peter Picknelly were having a press conference about the hotel he wants to build and the Pizzeria Uno that Hurwitz wants to put in. Picknelly said the financing is almost all in place and "The project will go forward!" He will put up $8 million of his own money through Monarch Enterprises. The Pizzeria Uno will seat 200 at a cost of $2 million. Picknelly claimed that construction could start "as soon as August." Albano crowed, "It's just a matter of time before hundreds of thousands of people start flocking to Springfield. This city is about to explode with economic development." Beth Carroll made a blooper at one point when she said, "Springfield is the birthplace of Springfield."

July 22, 2000

Beautiful, mild day, 68 degrees at 9am. Gas is $1.69 per gallon.

Yesterday, Congress gave preliminary approval to open up the export of medicine and food to Cuba. Woronoco stock closed today at 11.18, which is way up. My diaries have the most complete account of the end of Johnson's Bookstore. Every cartoonist wants to draw a hippie, and today one appeared in the strip Nancy. I've noticed hippie types appearing in Nancy before this. On TV22 I saw a commercial for Mazda that said "The meek shall inherit the dust," with a speeding car churning dust in your face. The line is a play on the Beatitudes and I would say it is not funny but disrespectful. In any case, it nicely illustrates how the texture of life is deteriorating and coarsening. Or maybe it is the other way around, the fact that we can joke about this suggests that we are becoming more civilized.

The fire at Brightwood Hardware in Longmeadow a few weeks ago has been determined to have been arson. This morning there was a fire around 7:30am that started in an electrical unit in the basement of the Country Inn and Buffet on Boston Road. I sometimes go there for corned beef on Thursdays, but not lately. The latest issue of Law Technology News is especially fat and actually had good reading material and not just a lot of ads. I'm sending it to Marshall Moriarty with my card stapled to it. Today is Issac Stern's 80th birthday. The radio began playing the intro to the Rondo Capriccio (which Mike Ouilette had down) but I had to leave. Went out at 9:30am and put the mail out at Breckwood and bought a paper. The Picknelly hotel announcement, surprisingly, was not the lead story and there were no architectural sketches. Got $7 worth of gas at the Cumberland Farms by OLSH.

Then over to Mrs. Staniski's, whose flowers were not watered and the ground was dry. I called out and she came to the door, friendly as usual. She said she had quite a time with the oil burner people and doesn't know what it will cost, but will pay it because she needs hot water. I wanted to tell her that her mother heated kettles of hot water on the stove, but didn't because she would've doubtless replied that the steam from the kettles would heat the house to an unbearable level in this weather. I did tell her she should have gotten the price in advance and warned that you can't do business like a Methodist Sunday School teacher. I asked if there was anything I could do for her and she asked me to water the flowers that were in the shade. That was easy. As I got in the car, she came out with a batch of cookies she made. She also told me she is quite delighted with the Agatha Christie paperbacks I brought her.

From there I drove into the city and parked on the Salem end of Eliot. The Spanish Baptists were putting up their signboard and a chubby man, probably the pastor, was supervising. I told him about the 16 Acres Library being Richardsonian Romanesque and explained why. He was friendly and thanked me graciously. On Mattoon I ran into Warden Jones, looking lean, hair still black and neatly dressed. He said they found a tumor in the area of his nose and although it was benign he decided to have it removed. The radiation knocked out his teeth and he lost a lot of weight. We had a more cheery conversation as we as we walked down to Chestnut together and I said I hope he values me as a friend.

I stopped to see the Phoenix tobacconist but he hasn't found the Monarch stock certificate yet. I told him that the name listed as Executive at Monarch is Kevin McAdoo and their legal counsel is John S. Coulton. It was about 11:00 when I arrived at Tower Square and the gallery was open. They had a ship painting featured, and like virtually everything in that gallery it is mediocre, unexciting and who would want it? I predicted to the clerk that it will end up in a landfill eventually. I went into Edwards and got my book. About 12:10 I bought a deli grinder from Shkena at Subway. She was working under the supervision of an older, white woman in a purple top. I told her that Subway is my favorite grinder shop. There were no posters on the bulletin boards downtown worth taking today.

At the City Block, at the Learn and Earn wagon they were selling water, candies and popcorn. I saw several people eating popcorn so maybe they have learned and started to earn. Bravo newspaper had a little metal table set up for distributing their rag. Tilly's had 16 tables set up with 53 chairs and six umbrellas advertising Coors, Bud Light and Bud Ice. Burke and Turin were standing around Tilly's. In due course someone started passing out free bottles of DaSani water from Big Y. A UPS worker parked his truck down on the corner of Harrison. Atty. Payne came along in tan clothes and sun glasses. Guizonis from A.G. Edwards walked by and we chatted briefly. He is somewhat of a yesmanish individual but I have no doubt that he is mostly sincere.

Atty. Berman with a rough beard went by with another man. He paused to ask, "Are you alright?" I said I'm fine and offered him a free water bottle but he wasn't interested. He wished me a nice summer. I counted noses at 12:20 and there were 137 present, no counting those just passing by. One of those walking past in a tan suit was former Mayor Bob Markel. I shouted, "Did you get the job, sir?" He gave me a big smile and replied, "They haven't decided." Somehow I suspect he will not get hired as city manager. There were no cops anywhere. The Johnson's back building has had it's face cleaned and some painting done. I wonder if the bank has bought it? Home at 12:55pm. Unknown called while I was away.

The mail brought a Fleet Bank credit card offer, but as a preferred customer shouldn't I already have one? Eamon called and said it must be hot in Florida, which reminded him that he should call Nader the Hatter. Eamon complained that he has had a hard time reaching Charlie Ryan and wonders whether Ryan is out of town on vacation. Eamon said he read in the paper that 39 people were at the baseball meeting the other night in the Acres, but I didn't see that in the paper. Eamon suggested that Picknelly's new motel is aimed primarily at businessmen and Big E goers, and if they also go to the Hall of Fame than all the better. Eamon claims there are rumors that the Pizzeria Uno by Stage West will close, which is just another nail in the coffin of downtown. He predicted that the new Hall of Fame will siphon business out of downtown and this is just the first example.

July 24, 2000

Lovely day, 68 degrees when I went out at 9:45am.

Tiger Woods has won the British Open with the best score in history and has won all the major tournaments this year. So what. Actor Robert Downey Jr. is serving three years for repeated drug violations. Susan Kaplan did the news this morning on WFCR. I currently have $1,024.71 in my Fleet Bank checking account. My bank statement came today, but no checks were enclosed. There may be other difficulties. I'd like to get out of Fleet. If they mess up everybody's account as they have mine they have quite a mess on their hands, but it may be good for the workers because they can get lots of overtime.

Dined this morning on tomatoes on toast. First thing today I typed a complaint demanding restitution, compensation and cancellation from The Scholars Bookshelf in the matter of the seven volumes of Wesley's works I ordered June 8th and which have never arrived. On the way out, I dropped off for Lucius a basketball history leaflet and the Harvard Gazette in his breezeway door. Dined on pancakes without sausage at McDonald's, where the price has gone up from $1.35 to $1.45. They had a special on Egg McMuffins, which are cheese, egg and bacon, for 99 cents. A very macho, short, fat, black man was picking up the floor and really banging chairs, trash receptacles and worst of all, grabbing all the newspapers and throwing them away.

From there I went and mailed the letter to Scholar's Bookshelf at Louis & Clark and bought gas for $1.61 per gallon at the adjacent Sunoco. I also got some nice veggies from Angelo's. When I got home, I called the McDonald's on Allen Street and spoke to the manager Carlos about the noisy behavior of their black employee and he replied politely enough, "I'm sorry about that, I'll talk to him." A man with a British or Irish accent called from Stockbytes Photos. I thanked him for their catalog but asked him not to send anymore material. Unknown called at 9:40pm and was ignored.

For supper I dined on another Healthy Choice Beef Tips Dinner. Eamon called and said he tried to call Nader the Hatter but his answering machine doesn't work, it rings four times and then just hangs up. Eamon told me he has taken almost $100,000 out of United Cooperative Bank and will withdraw another $25,000 soon. He is transferring the money to an account he has in a New Hampshire bank. Eamon then went on to recall how former City Councilor Paul Mason was a good friend of Bill Putnam. Mason's son was briefly a weatherman for TV22 but got into drugs and no more was heard of him. I told him about J.G. Holland.

Eamon went on to complain that the Springfield Police Department is the largest in the nation for a city this size and has no accountability or supervision. He said there is an organizational chart but no one follows it. Everybody has their own agenda "and for too many that's drinking beer and eating donuts." Eamon believes there should be only one cop to a cruiser (I don't necessarily agree with that) and there should be stricter supervision so they know where their men are at all times. He further denounced the police for having 29,000 outstanding arrest warrants and one of the highest violent crime and domestic violence rates in the country. Eamon declared that enlarging the Police Department "didn't reduce crime any more than an aspirin would cure cancer."

July 25, 2000

72 degrees at 7:30am.

Keenan and Molta Associates is in Southwick, Massachusetts. Robert P. Molta is the President. Today's Nancy comic has Sluggo dressed in full leather. Took the little tough guy a long time to find his duds. The Reminder was here first thing in the morning. Cleaned house. When I opened the dumpster to put in the morning trash I found a Bud 6-pack holder with three empty cans that someone had neatly and thoughtfully placed in it. The mail brought no correcting documents from Fleet Bank. I did get a postcard inviting me to City Block downtown.

I called ARISE to speak with Michaelann but she was out on a three week vacation. No one else at ARISE knew when the demo against the death penalty is, so I called the Council of Churches and they didn't know either. Finally I called Atty. Linda Thompson and she said it will be tomorrow from noon until 2pm at Court Square. She said she has a meeting at 12:30 but may still catch some of it. I then called ARISE and the Council and informed them. A bothersome call from came from J.P. Turner in New Jersey but I told him by broker is A.G. Edwards and that was that. A call from North Carolina from a Mrs. Marty McKinney called from Double M Enterprises asking me what I do for a living. When I said I'm a lawyer she said, "I don't think I'd like to work with you" and hung up. Ha! I picked up a call from Unknown but there was no voice on the other end.

I found out in the paper that The Odyssey Bookshop at the Village Common in South Hadley is having an Open Poetry Night hosted by Efrain Martinez tonight, sign-up at 6:30pm. When Mother was alive I couldn't have gone, but today I saw it as a good opportunity to dust off my Johnson's Bookstore Funeral Ode and give it a public hearing. Tonight I wore my logging boots with black pants covered at the crotch with my red jock strap and purple briefs, exactly what got me thrown out of Riverside Park last year. I wore my collar and chain, dog tags and vaselined Apache haircut sticking straight up. I also wore my black t-shirt with the slogan, "I Have an Attitude and I Know How to Use It." A really neat looking queer.

Dined on Wheaties, pork chops and and salad for supper. I left the house at 5:15pm and and arrived around six. As I walked in I saw Alvin Paige purchasing about ten art books worth $250 on a purchase order from AIC. We greeted each other cordially, he even called me Wesley, which is not bad because we've only met a couple of times. Paige had his right hand in a sling of some sort, he said he injured it while working on one of his artistic projects. Joan Grenier, the daughter of the old man who used to run the Odyssey, was there and most friendly. She told me that next week Boston poet and UMass MFA alum Diane Wald will read from her new collection Lucid Suitcase.

The poetry reading was upstairs with about twenty people in attendance. The host E. Martinez began by reading one of his pieces and then called on others to read off a list. I was called third and my poem was well-received and loudly applauded. I was followed by a teenaged girl who read her poem Are You a Hero or a Zero? about opposing bigotry. It was well done. She said she was Italian but had Irish red hair. There were poems read next by an Oriental woman and a guy wearing a band t-shirt that were not as interesting. Also reading were a couple housewives and a chubby woman with short hair who said she was a lesbian. Most didn't speak up as loudly as they should have, public speaking is an art too many lack.

Before I left, I gave an autographed copy of the Ode to Joan, Martinez and Paige. I also bought two books from the store, Lee on Guthrie and the Trinity Episcopal Church, hot off the presses, and a 1932 edition of Drake's Fairy Book in good condition. There was also a beautiful volume of Bryant, which I already have. There were a number of autographed books, a lot of authors pass through there. They have a tiny assortment of used books and I noticed that several were former Springfield City Library books, including Hopper's The Fire and the Hearth (1864) and Autumn Musings by Elizabeth Hazard (1874). Although the event was three hours long, I didn't have to go to the toilet once, although I didn't drink a lot of liquids today.

July 26, 2000

Overcast this morning, 71 degrees at 8:30am.

In the news today, the Mideast peace summit has collapsed. This is the 10th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The percentage of disabled people employed has not improved in the decade since the law was passed. A case of the West Nile virus has been found in Jamaica Plain, the first in Massachusetts. There is a beautiful picture of ladyslippers on the front of today's Boston Herald.

Five College Radio had something on about a Joann Simpson of West Springfield being arrested for the theft of Japanese woodblock prints from the George Walter Vincent Smith Museum. There has been shrinkage in Quad museum collections for years and nothing was done about it, now they have finally pinched somebody.

Unknown called at 10:50am. I drove into the city just about 11am. It was raining slightly when I parked on Salem. The Hispanic Baptist Church has their new sign up with the name of the church in removable letters. Down on Mattoon on the odd numbered side there were papers spilling out of the trash into the street. When I stooped to pick them up, I saw they were from a lawsuit by my former neighbor Nancy Fleury. Her lawsuit, dated July 1996, was against Grace Tucker of Swampscott and was over a 1993 car accident for which Fleury was seeking $25,000 in damages. Fleury's attorney was William G. Scibelli of the Law Offices of Salvatore J. Scibelli. Frank Yesu was also with the firm. I gathered the papers up and took them with me. No posters were on the kiosk and no set up at City Stage for noontime entertainment. However, there was loud music coming out of the speakers in front of Tilly's.

I walked over to Court Square, where seventeen people were gathered for the anti-death penalty rally. However, we were told that it had been cancelled due to the rain and would be held next Wednesday. Alan Wilcox was talking with a person I recognized as a Northgate Plaza supporter from Forest Park. Darnell Williams was there, impeccably dressed. We chatted a bit about the Police Department's foolish arrest of Minister Mohammad. I said it was the best thing that could have happened to the black community, that Muhammad was obviously targeted by the police and now we have this wonderful issue. Darnell was very cordial.

Since the protest was postponed, I went over to Subway and got a deli baloney sandwich. There was a sign in the door of The Court House Barber Shop reading, "CLOSED - Had the pleasure of serving you over 50 years! Thank you, Leonard. P.S. I'll miss you too!!" From there I went over to the Springfield Marriott for the seminar by Whitney Internet Services. It was a good presentation, but the audience was small with only 26 present. After the break there was only half that. I have seen seminars like this packed to overflowing so this must have been a real disappointment. It was conducted by four street smart looking young men in their twenties, the speaker named Paul was especially good. I learned something about websites and the book they were selling looked good.

When I got out about 3:30 it was damp but not raining. I was home by four after having some difficulty getting today's paper. Nobody at Breckwood had any left (Sunoco said they were sold out by 2pm) and I had to go to the Newsstand in the Acres which had two papers left. I was glad to get a paper because I wanted to read the latest about the Hall of Fame and the theft at the G.W.V. Smith Museum. The mail brought no Wesley books or word on them.

July 27, 2000

Lots of rain overnight. This July is one of the coolest on record.

In a major setback for pro-gay activists, the United Methodist Church declared homosexuality as "incompatible with Christian teaching." Napster has been told they have to close down their copyright infringement facilitating music website by Friday night. IBM is restructuring their retirement plans to screw their employees. Finished reading Sledge and he makes a good case for the nuclear bombing of Japan having actually saved both American and Japanese lives. City Block was on the news, it wasn't sunny but not actually raining at noon so they they had an OREO cookie stacking contest. The winner was a little boy who stacked 19. John Conaton CPA is a graduate of UMass Lowell. Parking costs $2.00 per day at the Tower Square garage.

Spent two hours on the estate this evening going through Father's dresser. The top drawer had his hearing aids, glasses and a little inexpensive jewelry. The middle drawer had underwear, all in good shape, a lot new. Bottom drawer had bed coverings, at the bottom of which I found a bag from Robin's Handbags of 14 Vernon Street. In the 1970's I made a gallery of Springfield paper bags and periodically I have added additional items as they turn up. In the old days there were a lot of little shops around downtown which had a narrow front and a deep store. This one may have been a store like that, I have no idea, but Mother always bought only specials, so they must have attracted her with a sale.

I also found a 1969 appointment card from Harris Pharmacy at 139 Chestnut Street. Father retired from Monarch in 1971. I found a sheet of exercises for knee rehabilitation in his dresser. There was also a brown leather folding case with John W. Miller imprinted in gold on it in small letters. Inside, there was a file, a comb and a little pair of scissors. Father must have carried it on him often because it was very worn. I saved the file and scissors and cut out the part with his name on it and unceremoniously dumped the remainder in the trash.

Called Music Art Collectibles and asked them to send me their catalog featuring Beatles and Stones stuff. I called the Basketball Hall of Fame this morning and spoke to Norma about speaking to the Director of Development. She said that Scott Zuffelato is not in today but got me Amy Benoit who helps out. However, all I got was Amy's voicemail so I hung up and called Norma back and told her I wanted to speak with a real human being. She said she would page Amy and she came on the phone almost immediately. I did most of the talking, but Amy did admit that the Hall is having trouble raising money and that it is unlikely that they will get all the retail partners they were hoping for.

I talked about life memberships and said I would buy one for $500 that would give me lifetime free admission, souvenir shop discounts and a newsletter a couple of time per year. I told her I have no interest in basketball whatsoever, but I am very interested in historic preservation, art and anything they touch upon. I spoke of the importance of the Hall building relationships with people like me and should consider all that I can do for them. I mentioned Eamon and our critique of things, gave her his number and assured her that I want only to help them.

After several tries, I got through to Susan Whitney from Whitney Internet Services. I told her how I felt they did a good job on their presentation at the Marriott. I speculated that the low turnout was due to poor advertising on their part, as personally I didn't find out about it until the morning of the event. Susan and I were suddenly disconnected, and so be it. These types of people always hang up when I ask smart questions. Mitchell R. Briarwood of Ludlow called looking for Storrowtown. Unknown called at 5:25pm but when I picked up the call was voiceless.

Received a nice thank you letter from Ken Jorgensen of Smith & Wesson, I'll send a copy to Dickie Drysdale at the Herald. I also received something from the The Milton Society. I went out around two and bought a paper after dropping off the Randolph paper at the Penniman's and a couple of magazines at the Cohn's. Mrs. Cohn was sitting at the table eating and the car was not in the garage.

Ellen Chang on TV22 mispronounced the word clandestine. Dined tonight on a Healthy Choice Colonial Chicken Pie. Eamon called and said he finally got in touch with Charlie Ryan. He told Eamon that he thinks that "this city is a mess!" I told Eamon about my call to the Hall and he described the Hall of Fame as "a very ordinary rectangular building." Eamon also told me about his military marksmanship training when he was stationed by the Great Lakes.

July 28,2000

Overcast, 66 degrees at 8:30am.

Hagar the Horrible is drawn by Dik Browne. The Optical Shop was located at 141 Bridge Street in 1955. The Valley Hearing Aid Center was located on the ground floor of 9 Pearl Street in 1967. Father bought hearing aids from from both Mercy Hospital and Sears. He didn't like the one from Mercy but the Sears one was fine. Dr. Hugo Cuadra, a Costa Rican, was Father's regular physician after Dr. Popkin retired. He used to talk like, "Meester Meeler, Meester Meeler." I have so many things I collect, such as a fabulous ladyslipper image from the vacation edition of the the Randolph Herald. I gave the rest of the paper to the Penniman's, but I had to keep the picture.

I began the morning by getting ready to write to Fleet Bank, but then discovered my last statement is just a statement for my former Bank of Boston account. So I prepared an even nastier memo for Fleet and made copies of it for 3 cents each at CopyCat. Steve Hays was there and waved hi. From there I went straight to the 16 Acres branch of Fleet, which was closing for good that very day. Daniel A. Marini had a dumpster outside his office with Marini himself in jeans and a black top with a bottle of Advil on his desk. The pictures were still on the wall, but boxes were piled on the floor. I told him he is a good fellow and wished him well. I also called out good wishes to the tellers as I departed at 10:50am.

I drove into the city and parked on Salem under a tree that dripped goo all over my while I was gone. I trotted down to the Fleet by Monarch Place, where there were zero posters on the kiosk. At Fleet the boss lady was on vacation, so I spoke to business banker Gregory T. Musante. He gave me a receipt on a piece of letterhead and said he'll see that the appropriate department gets my complaint. As I came out of the bank Shkena from Subway was standing on the sidewalk talking to a friend and she said the buns should be ready so I went into Subway for a deli-baloney. The banner out front said it is now under new management.

When I left it was only 11:30am, so I hung around the City Block mall and watched the musical act setting up, a father and son with electronic drums. When I asked the dad he told me he's out of business cards and his kid told me that he's eleven years old. Tilly's had only five umbrellas up. I saw Bob Turin and another man carrying food into the Bank of Boston/Sovereign building. They were carrying milk crates filled with veggies and who knows what else. The music started at noon but very few were present. I counted noses and got only 75 including the 27 sitting at tables in Tilly's.

A couple danced to the music in front of PCX (the Pocket Change Exchange) at 1402 Main, the new hip clothing store but to me so much like all the others. Hurwitz paraded past in a maroon top and chinos, but I pretended not to notice him. A little radical lady I've seen around was coming from Harrison Place and I gave her a cheery hello. She asked where my orange jumpsuit was and I said I'll be wearing it with full regalia at Wednesday's anti-death penalty rally. I noticed that the former Johnson's has rearranged their window display. The Factory Outlet flowers are still in the left window by the Johnson's entrance, but the window next to the Cafe Eurasia has a Save the Mountain display promoting the website savetheholyokerange.com with posters, bumperstickers, pictures and maps.

From City Block I went up to the Quad, where the parking lot was full of Connecticut visitors so I parked on Eliot. I looked up Edward Wynn, who I am amazed to learn was the heir to Narcissus Luttrell's house and library. Luttrell is of course one of my heroes for his collection of dated materials. Next I went over to the G.W.V. Smith Museum to see the cloisonne exhibit. The joke is that the hall that has the cloisonne in it has been stripped to just one case with about ten pieces all crowded together although jazzily presented. The young black guard and I chuckled about the arrangement but he said some of the pieces were taken out of storage for the exhibit. He showed me a gigantic bronze of a tiger with Buddha riding atop it and said that was his favorite piece. I told him the elephant with the urn atop it is mine. He told me the museum is a good place to work, although it can be boring at times. I looked at the Native American pieces in the MFA and then left by way of the bridge exhibit in the Pynchon building.

On my way back I stopped at Big Y, where I bought lots of frozen food on special. When I got home, the Lynch's were out packing the Ryder moving truck. Mys. Lynch was nowhere in sight, but I promised to send them a farewell letter. There was a big blue New York Times bag hanging on my garage door. It was from Irv Cohn returning two books. He still has the Felix Frankfurter and Judge Judy books. I called Cohn to tell him I found the bag he left. I was tired so I took a nap and when I woke up I had a Stouffer's Veal Parmigiana Dinner.

It had been a very long day, but I wanted to go back downtown to see NRBQ, a band for which I have posters going back many years. I parked in front of the liquor store on Chestnut and walked down the hill. By the bus shelter by the SIS building I found a Champion's heavy sweatshirt hanging on the edge of a trash receptacle where somebody had abandoned it. I took it and moved on down Main. The music shell was pulled up to the end of the Harrison Place building with a tall white panel truck nearby. There was a tent in front with a loud sound mixer. When I arrived at just about 7:30pm there were not quite a thousand people present, a good crowd. There were 33 people in line at the Bud beer wagon and 32 lined up by the hot dog stand. It was not a crowd that reached to Court Square or even to Westfield Bank. There was a good crowd around Tilly's. The front door to Cafe Eurasia was open and there were ten or so customers inside.

I ran into activist Brenda Branchini and her tall husband, who told me the city is charging her $50 to have her business removed from their list of city businesses. She refused to pay it and promised me she will eventually resume her political activities. I saw Nicholas Fyntrilakis in a light blue open collar shirt talking with Gerald Phillips in a brown plaid shirt. I also saw STCC President A. Scibelli sitting at at a table in Tilly's. There were other politicians around as well. I should have told them that downtown needs tables like they had at Winchester Square when I was a child where old men can play chess. Downtown could also use a few water fountains.

The band was introduced by Mayor Albano, who called NRBQ "the best band in all of America." That is probably not true, but it was a good concert. I like NRBQ for their variety and versatility, at one point incorporating a harmonica and trumpet. At one point I heard someone complain that the band was so loud they couldn't hear themselves speak. Lately I've been watching children at play and how they create their own fantasy worlds and devise their own games. I saw young men skateboarding on the ramp in front of the Civic Center and at one point I sat on a bench behind the music shell and watched a little girl skip rope. I saw two little boys swing themselves around and around a tree.

At 8:45 there were 46 in line for hot dogs and 40 at the beer wagon. There was someone walking around with a bucket of roses and appeared to sell some of them. At 9:20 the band left the stage, then quickly returned for an encore that ended right at 9:30. The concert was as fine a cross section of society as I have ever seen in Springfield, all kinds, more men than women, not many children. There was a lot of litter in the streets, not many cops around but there may have been some plain clothes officers. I saw Turin as I was leaving, carrying a bottle of water.

July 30, 2000

Overcast all day, rain in the evening.

Lots of talk in the news about the West Nile virus. I dumped my bird bath long ago, but to me Kelly's fish pond is a problem. The vocal music group Chanticleer, winner of a 1999 Grammy Award, will be performing at Old First Church on October 1st. Charles E. Page is the Artistic Director for the Music at First concert series. The repaving projects on State Street and Plumtree Road are completed. The intersection of State and Spring was an awful mess of potholes but is now nicely repaired. The high beams on my car don't seem to work at all.

Harry Steinberg was the manager of Sonotone of Springfield on Bridge Street in 1968. 1046 Wilbraham Road is the Breckwood Professional Building and it has been empty for some time and has large sumac trees growing up around it. It has a peaked portico at the front and pillars, a cheap little building really. I never did know who or what was in it.

In the morning first thing I wrote a friendly farewell note to the Lynch's. On my way to Angelo's I delivered it to Mrs. Lynch who was out mowing the lawn around 10:40am. Mrs. Berselli is having her driveway repaved. I have to make an appointment to interview her. There was a crew of men cleaning out the Petzold house. I asked if there was going to be a tag sale and they said the old lady is barely alive and all her stuff is being junked. Too bad. Next I went to the Big Y for more frozen stuff on special. I also got an order of fish and chips that's good for two meals. Forget to mention that first I went out to the McDonald's on Allen for an Egg McMuffin and then to Angelo's for veggies.

When I got back, I did two loads of wash, the dishes, vacuumed and took a bath. Tonight I dined on a Swanson Yankee Pot Roast Dinner. Eamon called and said his friend McNulty of the local building trades is mad because so much city construction work is going to non-union people. Eamon also talked about his friend Dan Pease who ran a costume place on Worthington Street. Unknown called at 8:21pm but I didn't answer.

July 31, 2000

69 degrees at noon.

Junior Achievement of Western Mass is located on Benson Drive in East Longmeadow. Cambridge Credit Counseling is located in Agawam. Star Press is located in Holyoke. The Valley Hearing Aid Center was located on Bridge Street in the lobby of the Kimball Towers in 1975. Priests Anthony Donahue and Andrew Ducles live in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Today I came upon this old Camp Norwich songbook from the 1950's:

O, Norwich, fair Norwich,
tis a name known to fame in days of yore,
May she ever be glorious
till the sun shall climb
the heavens no more.

I was brought up in an environment that was, what shall we say, overly protective. Mother was very much concerned that I not get hurt, so I didn't get bumped around as I should have. On the other hand, 60,000 did get killed in Vietnam, and had I died there then there is a great deal of productivity I would not have produced. I have always had a sense that I was here to produce something special and not necessarily something that was moneymaking, but something needed that nobody else would bother to produce.

Got up at 6:15am, tucked my jeans into my logger boots, black fleece with hood outside my leather jacket, collar, vaselined my Apache and parked downtown right in front of the Spanish Baptist Church. I tumbled down the hill to the 7:10 Mass at the St. Francis Chapel. Today is their last day with final services at 7:10 and 11 and closing for good at noon. I attended both services with some snooping around downtown in the interim. There were various religious freebies on the counter when I came in, one with virgin misspelled "virgen." You would think they could do better.

I didn't hear much of the 7:10 service, led by a jovial, chubby, bald friar type who mumbled. We closed singing Joyful We Adore Thee, a Protestant hymn, but without musical accompaniment it took me awhile to recognize it. They have an organ, it is a fully equipped church, but I have never known the organ to be used. I counted about 75 people present, some young, some old, no children of course, an equal number of men and women. No one in suits. The jeans and frizzy faced architect I sometimes see around was in front of me and turned around to say hi.

These were ordinary people, many of whom may depend on that church. I put a dollar in the basket, I saw change but there were mostly dollars. I picked up some of the concluding ephemera, including a list of former priests, the schedule of services for the last week and a well worn copy of their Novena prayers, so well worn that one of the staples were gone. A little woman in the congregation told me that they are closing today and I may as well take it as the books will be thrown out. I thanked her saying that I'm a Methodist and came because I thought it would be nice if they had a Protestant at their last service!

When I got out of the service at 7:50, I wandered around downtown. The lights inside Johnson's Bookstore were on and most of the trash cans along Main Street were empty, except for the ones on Market and in front of the Bank of Boston. I got four posters off the light posts on Columbus Avenue. The bricks on the sidewalk in front of the Civic Center Convenience store are buckled, the fancy fix-up of the 80's is now falling apart. An older man in a topcoat and hat crossing Court Square knocked a piece of trash onto the brickwork. He didnt try to pick it up but said to me, "The City sure has gone to hell." To which I replied, "So that means I have gone to hell too." He then declared, "You're an honest man," and we walked on. I watched him from a distance and he was parked on the Square in front of the church.

I walked up toward Memorial Bridge and crossed Columbus Avenue and saw that there is a parking lot where the railroad yard used to be. I asked the dark skinned native of India in charge who owns the lot and he said Peter Picknelly. I counted units on a Conrail train going south, three engines and 40 cars, no caboose. Parking there is only $40 per month or $3 per day, when across the street in the Municipal garage it's $110 per month for reserved spots and no daily rate except for those serving jury duty. The Sheraton parking lot is $2.50 per hour. I walked into Riverfront Park, hoping for Puerto Rican ephemera from over the weekend, but the trash cans were empty.

I looked in on Dunkin Donuts in Baystate West but each time it was loaded with customers. I finally gave in at 10:30 and paid 60 cents for a single jelly donut, then returned to the chapel for the service at eleven. TV cameramen were there, but I know not where from. The celebrant this time, Father John E. Mahoney, was younger and had a good voice with an articulate manner. I heard most of what he said. The 11 o'clock service was well filled, I counted 160. Joyful was not sung at the end of the service. People were advised to go to the Basilica of St. Stanislaw from now on, but that is way up in Chicopee.

Today was the last day of CopyCat's customer appreciation month. I made a mountain of copies of all the documents I mean to donate to the Historical Society of Wisconsin. When I was a child, I had my tonsils out, but 22 News said that new procedures make that unnecessary. Also, there was a story about how retired cop Bob Caplette now has a business called Homewatch to look after your house while you're out of town. Hurwitz was on the news saying that the renovated Civic Center will be "the economic engine that will move the city and the region forward." Blah, blah, blah.

Eamon called and said he was in East Otis over the weekend with his nephew who is a consulting engineer. His nephew has a cottage there and they went boating and fishing. The nephew told him that the Rebecca Johnson School is only ten years old and is a mess due to poor maintenance. He also told Eamon that the Hall of Fame is 'grimey." Eamon told his nephew that his friend Casella told him that the Hall could've been built for a third of what the city paid for it.