September 2000

September 1, 2000

84 degrees at 4:30pm.

Even days when nothing is happening, a lot happens.

I'll never forget Irving Cohn telling me, "David Starr is a jerk." TV22 forgot to read the stock quotes at noon. City Councilor Bud Williams was on the news saying that Homer Street is the oldest school in the city and he is urging improvements. Elizabeth Pietrantonio is Director of Marketing for HeartHaven Alzheimer's Care in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Whatever happened to C. William Lynch at 782-8241? The phone company says the line has been disconnected and no further information is available. Carol Cheney of Landry-Lyons called at 11:28 looking for Storrowtown. "I apologize," she said and that will have to do.

Saw Mrs. Ciantra at Larson's the other day. I said hi but didn't say much else because I don't want Lortie to know I was there. I went out to the Bank of Western Mass today to withdraw money. The teller D. Chamberlain was incredibly dumb and got several things wrong. She had long maroon fingernails that made it difficult for her to type. Next I went to the Wilbraham Post Office, which told me they can no longer give out forwarding addresses. Finally, I went to the Big Y where I got a pizza with a coupon.

Last year Aunt Maria was talking about giving Joe Lucia her estate in exchange for looking after her. Joe's son is a developer who would like the land. This week's Valley Advocate has an article Around Amherst - What's where in this jewel of a college town by Tricia Asklar. Maureen Turner has a story Those Little Town Blues - South Hadley is a classic college town, but student options are limited.

I prefer football to baseball. Eamon is cynical about Mayor Albano's anti-litter campaign. Tom Burton of Hampden Savings Bank seems to be an individual who does not care or who cannot be trusted even when he puts it in writing. I worked on organizing and tidying up my diary this afternoon until the mail came. The Lawbook Exchange list came so I called Atty. Berman about Edwin James (1867) and got Berman's associate Kerry D. Strager, who thanked me cordially for passing on the information. I also got a CANE flyer for September in the mail, they have never sent me their newsletter before:

Citizen's Action Network
September 2000

It is already September and Bob and I hope everyone had a great summer. It looks like a busy month coming up with much to do.

We would like to thank everyone for all the work you did to save out tax dollars and Northgate Plaza. The two questions most often asked in regard to the baseball stadium are about the cable endowment money and the bond that was approved years ago for a different site and team.

The cable endowment fund is with the Springfield Media and Telecommunications Group. According to Gary Shepard, who heads up the SMTG, the funds will be used for public access and requests for proposals will be going out soon.

Councilor Angelo Puppolo has put a motion forth to have the bond rescinded and the Mayor is trying to say that the council does not have the power to rescind a bond. According to Mr. Metzger and many of the council members, it has been done before and can be done again.

We have also been working with other groups to get the libraries open more hours, especially during the school year when the children need to do research projects, etc.

Upcoming Events for September:

Saturday Sept. 9th at 11:00am - Marshall Moriarty will be formally announcing his candidacy for Governor's Council at Court Square. Everyone is invited.

Monday, September 11th at 7:30pm - The City Council will be taking up the stadium bond issue. The meeting will be held in the City Council chambers.

Tuesday, September 19th is Primary Day - There are three contested seats that I know of in Springfield, and all three are Democratic primaries. The contested seats are for the 2nd Congressional District and the 9th and 12th Hampden District State Representative seats.

Tuesday, September 26th at 6:30pm - Our monthly CANE meeting will be held at Bickford's Restaurant on Cooley Street in Springfield.

Wednesday, September 27th at 4:00pm - A rally for more library hours will be held at the Quadrangle. The Springfield library and Museums Association will be holding their annual meeting and we hope to get their attention.

Karen Powell

September 2, 2000

"I can't live without books." - Thomas Jefferson

They're talking about increasing the electric rates by about $7 per month. What happened to all the talk a couple years ago about lower electric rates? Pederzoli Pharmacy was at 341 Wilbraham Road in 1947 and Ralph M. Burke was the Pharmacist. The Liggett Drug Company was at 1411 Main Street in Springfield in 1954. A.E. Sunter Drug was located on Wilbraham Road in 1954. Louis & Clark Rexall Drug was located in the Breckwood Shops in 1964. T.D. Seymour Bassett was Curator of the Wilbur Collection at the University of Vermont in 1971. Janice M. Fitton is the Marketing Director at Academy Point in Mystic, Connecticut. Ruby Tuesday restaurants advertise themselves as offering "Awesome Food, Serious Salad Bar."

This morning there was a white Connecticut car in Colleen's driveway, no other vehicles around. I dropped off a copy of Interior Construction magazine at Cressotti's, then I hurried back because some of the Millers from Bethel, Vermont were coming to visit today. Cousins Helen and David Miller and Aunt Martha Miller Bowen arrived at 11:35am. They started here at 8:30am so they made normal time. Helen's vehicle is a maroon Chevy Lumina with a plate that reads RVRBEND for they live at the bend in the river. They brought a very fancy maple leaf bottle of syrup from Ward's.

I began by presenting Helen with what I believe was Grandma Miller's favorite picture of herself, which showed her around 1900 looking out over the sea. I served them pistachio ice cream, sugar cookies and a tiny glass each of Harvey's Bristol Creme. Aunt Martha drank her's down no problem, but David said he would just smell his while Helen wouldn't touch hers. In the end I poured the two small glasses down the drain. I hauled out the High Hippie posters Clyde so much loved of Donald Duck and his nephews smoking pot, plus one of Popeye and Olive Oyl doing it in the missionary position while Sweet Pea looks innocently through the window. Aunt Martha cried out disapprovingly that they are good Methodists and pretty straight.

I then brought out Mother's urn and gave them copies of the list of things I have put in the urn. I gave Aunt Martha Mother's best set of gold beads and I gave Helen Mother's gold locket. I also gave them some freebies, Helen liked her yo-yo and was quite good with it. None of them wanted the copy I offered them of Billy Graham's Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I took them up to the attic and asked Aunt Martha if she wanted a whistling tea kettle, but she said she already has one. They didn't want the Louise Minks Leverett Pond painting, which is just as well because I like it.

Aunt Maria was just briefly mentioned and we never mentioned Josephine. I complained about people not answering letters, and I urged that someone catalog Lucille's artwork. I asked for a picture of the 'Lympus Church, and they said the new lady minister the Rev. Deborah Perrigo does a good job on sermons. I gave them jigsaw puzzles and I gave Aunt Martha two cakes of Dove soap and a bottle of Mother's favorite perfume. She said she liked my motorcycle jacket, little does she know. Cousin David was wearing blue jeans, grey athletic shoes and a plaid shirt with nerdy pens in his pocket.

I tried to ask cousin David E. Miller as many questions as possible. David said his son Stephen is grown and moved out. David has been teaching all summer and is still a Professor of Physics at the Hazleton Campus of Penn State. He regretted that he didn't have much of a chance this summer to "space out and be meditative." I asked him straight out how the students he has today compare to the ones when he first started teaching and he replied, "Much worse." He told me they have had to lower their standards and are always revising their curriculum. I was told he doesn't know much about the National Association of Scholars, saying "People keep asking me if I've read this or that, but I haven't got time to read much of anything." David says he can't wait to retire from teaching but he wants to continue his research. He said he will get several pensions including his Social Security.

Around one we left for lunch. On our way to Ruby Tuesday, I dropped off some film for developing at the Breckwood Shops, where outside I saw Cindy from Louis & Clark having a smoke while sitting against the wall of the steps leading from CopyCat to the Sunoco gas station/convenience store. I took her picture because there was unused film on the roll. Cindy used to be the mail clerk at Louis & Clark but now she just works weekends. Cindy always has a wonderful smile.

When we arrived at Ruby Tuesday, there was a line extending outside the door, but we agreed it was worth waiting. When we got in after a 15 minute wait, to my astonishment we got the front corner booth with a window looking out on the Parker and Boston Road intersection. We all got Wisconsin cheeseburgers and the salad bar. David drank Coke minus the ice, Aunt Martha had coffee and Helen had a raspberry smoothie. The food was excellent, the salad bar was complete with diced coconut rather than shredded and the burgers were all just right. They really liked their visit and for once it was well worth the effort I put into it.

The mail brought me two copies of Imprimus for August and an invite from Mayor Albano and Peter Pan's Picknelly for a fundraiser for Rep. T. Petrolati at the Sheraton September 21st at $100 a seat. It's the first mailing I've gotten from the Albano Committee since the Northgate stadium defeat. Yesterday Eamon said he got one too. I also got a letter with decidedly decaying handwriting from Mother's old friend Pritchard. Eamon called at 6:48pm but I was too tired to answer.

September 4, 2000

Labor Day. Overcast and very humid, 75 degrees at 7:30am.

There was a 5.2 earthquake this morning in the Napa Valley of Northern California. Parts of Texas have had no rain for 65 days. October 7th and 8th WFCR will hold their 10th Vintage Vinyl sale on the Amherst Common. No 78s.

I tried to call Aunt Maria and got Shirley H. who said, "I'm on my hands and knees washing the floor right now, if you would call back later I would really appreciate it." I wished her Happy Labor Day and said I was on my way out. When I left the house, I saw Durham Caldwell walking his dog down to Talbot. There's a lot of tall grass around the old Deliso house and I noticed Salvon putting mulch around his bushes. I also saw the Sealtest milkman walking a big dog at the other end of Jeffrey, he lives over by Franconia. At 9:30am I got pancakes without sausage at McDonald's. There were no newspapers lying around McDonald's, except at a table with two ladies who had a pile of papers they were not reading but claimed were theirs. From there I drove to the Eastfield Mall and walked around. The mall looks good, but the prices in Sears were high. Jeans were selling for as much as $45. This is not my father's Sears! How can they be making money?

On the evening news, Brenda Garton made numerous mispronunciations and grammar errors. Had an interesting chat with Eamon today. He started out complaining that his Social Security is only $400 per month. Eamon then became nostalgic as he recalled how Willard M. Clark had a little voice studio on the second floor over the Waldorf on the corner of State and Main. He told Eamon's parents, "Your son has a natural voice, I wouldn't give him too many lessons." He did take lessons anyway from Vincent Spolzino who "taught me how to throw my voice up." Spolzino used to sing with the tenor Redmond at the Met in New York, but came back to Springfield to look after his aged Mother. Later in life Spolzino ended up working for the Salvation Army. Eamon also took voice lessons from Al Mastrioni, who also taught piano. Matrioni's wife was an opera singer. At one point Eamon studied with Pizzatola on Worthington, on the second floor of what is Hourihan's now.

Next Eamon reminisced about the Josephs family that used to own a lot of liquor stores in the city but now only own one over on Mattoon. All of the brothers (there were also several sisters) had Michael for their middle name: Eddie M, Frank M, Joseph M, Victor M and Fred M. Victor runs the Chestnut Liquor Store. The smartest was Frank, whose son Stephen is the lawyer with the Yankee Candle account. Frank was involved in coat manufacturing with George Saba at the corner of Fort and Worthington. Saba remained in the garment field after Frank left. Frank was into race horses, plane piloting and had a home in Westerly, Rhode Island. He also served in the Air Force in WWII.

Eamon said someone at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center told him he should focus in his phone editorials upon the "cumulative drop-out rate" instead of the annual drop-out rate. What matters is the number that drop out of a class over the four years until they graduate. By that measure, you can more clearly see that the drop-out rate in Springfield is enormous. At the close of his call, Eamon recalled Butterballs Autry, the fat man who ran the Liberty Theater. The kids used to drive him nuts by throwing spitballs and making noise until he threatened to call the police. Alas, how poor Butterballs suffered just to show movies to the kids of Hungry Hill on Saturday afternoons.

September 5, 2000

Today dawned sunny and 61 degrees, gas went up on Labor Day to $1.55.

I drove out late at 1:55pm and my first stop was to mail a $25 contribution to ARISE. I wrote that they should spend the money on things that matter. Then downtown to Westfield Savings, where the teller told me that business has been "a little slow." Heading back to the car, I ran into Tom Burton walking out of the parking lot of his bank, looking mad and glaring at me, frowning like a professor planning to flunk a student. I said nothing, but later when I told Eamon about it he suggested I should have greeted him ebulliently and he's probably right. The CityBlock area was all cleaned up, with recorded music blasting out of Tilly's loudspeakers. There was a long, white, stretch limo idling in front of Sovereign Bank.

While making a deposit at the Telephone Worker's Credit Union, I asked to see the Credit Union President Paul C. MacDonald. He was broad shouldered and wearing a rotary pin and he voluntarily gave me his card. He told me they got the accounts from the Monarch Credit Union, but no historical records. He suggested I talk to Bernadette Smail, who might know what became of the historical materials. I told him that I know Bernadette. He told me the merger with Monarch "didn't work out as well as we hoped it would as Gordon Oakes led us down the wrong path." An exact quote. MacDonald indicated he would be willing to incorporate Father's manuscript about the credit union's history into their archives and to make a note of it in their newsletter. I'll wait a few days and follow up.

From downtown, I drove up to the Farmer's Market at the X behind the Goodwill. It was just wonderful, the market looks like a caravan tent city. There were about 15 booths, including one being run by Belle Rita Novak, who was selling her cabbage and meatball soup. There was a guy playing guitar with reddish hair named Tom Neilson from Roaring Jelly Productions in Leverett. The merchandise was laid out very artistically in a high hippie fashion. They had veggies of all kinds and paperbacks for sale, three for a dollar. I asked Belle-Rita if she would consider running for Mayor of Springfield, but she has no desire to serve as Mayor or on the City Council. I told Belle-Rita how Eamon and I have discussed a dream ticket of candidates that would include herself, the Powells and Michaelann Bewsee. She said neither Bewsee or the Powells share her philosophy and she doubts they could work closely together. I told her I thought otherwise, but Belle-Rita insisted she has no political ambitions. I ended up buying a loaf of bread before leaving. On the way home I stopped by the Food Mart at the Five Town Mall for a $1.99 sub and got home at 4:35pm.

Called Erica at Baystate and made an appointment for a prostate screening on September 20th at 11:15am. I left a recorded message for Pearsall in Wilbraham that I'm ready to work with him. I then called the Powells and got Bob. I told him how I become less active in the winter. We talked about the need to block the attempt by businesses to have the tax rates lowered for them while increasing the tax on residences. Next, I called the Council of Churches, who said their Director is Rev. Karen Rucks, a Baptist, so Rev. Loesh didn't get it. Finally, I called Olympia Sports at Eastfield Mall and told Eric the manager that their receipt tape is illegible because the type is too small and the red background makes it even harder to read.

Arman Marshall called for Boston Magazine at $9.95 per year. I told him Boston is a nice magazine, but repetitive in the kind of stories they cover. I urged him to please don't call again. Later, Eamon called and said he always reads the Union-News very carefully. Eamon's sister told him there are a lot of personnel problems at TV22, big turnover. The black lady Anita Wilson has gone to TV30, saying that she had a lot of trouble working with the TV22 bosses. TV40 is having trouble keeping help as well. Eamon continues to praise Armando Feliciano, Director of Operations at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, who was the guy who told him about the cumulative drop-out rate. Eamon is sending him some information about the Springfield Public Schools. This illustrates how Eamon is willing to work with anybody who is interested in rationally improving things around here. Who ever thought that Eamon would join forces with the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, but he has.

September 6, 2000

Sunny, clear and 62 degrees in the morning. Gas in the Acres is $1.52.

Clinton shook hands with Fidel Castro yesterday at a Millennium Summit of 150 nations at the United Nations. They say that attendance is up 30% at the Quadrangle because of school and group tours. Benchmark Assisted Living is in Wellesley, Massachusetts. The Roberts Brothers Three Ring Circus performed at the Polish American Club grounds in Feeding Hills last month. Friendly's stock is down to 3.75 and Woronoco is up to 12.18.

Eamon's uncle Tux Sullivan was on TV22 talking about his new book Baseball Makes Friends. I think TV22 is the station that screws up the most. TV40 had a story on Albano's "club quarter" downtown and property owner Victor Bruno was interviewed. They also had a story on Marox, formerly of Congress Street, that was ousted by Albano via eminent domain during the stadium scam. They have since moved into a new 46,000 feet facility in Holyoke. Owner Manfred Rosencranz was on, explaining how Marox manufactures medical and military precision pieces. Even Albano himself was on, claiming that several businesses have expressed an interest in their former Congress Street facility and that he considers the new Marox plant in Holyoke "a gain for the entire region."

I mowed the lawn today except for the front of the house to the hedge. Still hunkered down straightening out my records and diaries for the last couple of years and identifying loose ends. Someone named Wanda called from the Republican National Committee. I told her I am a Republican but not a supporter of George W. Bush and told her why. She sounded black and seemed to like what I said. I then called the Valley Advocate and left a message for Tom Vannah to call me.

Next I called Aunt Maria and got Shirley Huang and told her she should give me my books back soon. I asked her how Aunt Maria is doing and Shirley said "she is doing very well right now." I asked if I could talk to her and Shirley replied, "She's occupied right now." I then asked if I could call back later and speak to my aunt but Shirley insisted, "She doesn't want to have anything to do with you." Other than that, Shirley described Aunt Maria as "very happy" and said she goes to church every Sunday, sometimes goes to Stanley Park and occasionally gets visits from Myrtle, Azel and Harley. She didn't know anything about Jessica Manning. I closed by saying that as long as Aunt Maria is happy I don't want to intrude and will stay away.

Tonight I dined on a Hungry Man Pot Roast Dinner. Eamon called and said he has been getting anonymous tips from people calling and claiming that since Dr. Negroni left more than $2 million has been discovered missing from the School Department. He also claims that he heard that the resignation of Don E.N. Gibson, chief operating officer of the Basketball Hall of Fame, was due to a large amount of money missing from the Hall's accounts. TV40 reported on the resignation Tuesday night, but gave no reason. TV22 reported that attendance at the Hall is down this year. Gibson's last day of work will be October 31st and the marketing chief will fill in until a successor is found.

After Eamon hung up, I called the Hall of Fame to see if I could apply for Gibson's soon to be vacant job. I got Ann Sonderstrom, and I told her that her name reminds me of Siv Sonderstrom the cellist. Ann said that she is the Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer. David Gaut is the Chairman of the Board. Scott Zuffelato is the development man that never got back to me. Ann told me that if I want to apply for the directorship to bring my resume and leave it with her and she'll give it to the Chairman of the Board.

September 7, 2000

Overcast/misty, 57 degrees at 8am.

The UN is evacuating people from West Timor because of renewed trouble there. Only two percent of American estates are subject to the inheritance tax on the Federal level. My parent's estate came close, especially if they had figured in the value of the books and antiques in my collections. Commercial artist Paul Flannery is doing the artwork and graphics for the Moriarty for Governor's Council campaign. Berkshire Mountain Bakery is in Housatonic, Mass. and sells bread at the X Farmer's Market. 99 Restaurant & Pub in the Eastfield Mall is open.

Today I finished mowing the lawn between the house and the hedge. I also did the dishes and took a bath. I went out at 8:45am and dropped off stuff at the Cohns. I met Mr. Lucius on his morning stroll and gave him a couple of things I had for him. He politely asked how my visit with my Vermont relatives went. I left my slide of the Costello Paint Shop at Sixty Minutes Photo, they said it will be ready in a week. Then I went and got lovely wax beans and other stuff at Angelo's. Next I went to Fleet Bank in the Acres and had to stand in line to make a deposit although they had four tellers on duty. Businesses with lots of money were the problem.

I headed over to Albank to make a deposit and was informed that I will have to buy deposit slips because starting next week they are no longer supplying counter deposit slips. They said the new procedure will eliminate errors and I told them I felt I was entitled to 30 days notice. They said the deposit slips are "$4.50, shall I order some for you?" I replied that I'll think it over, but actually I am thinking of closing that account. Someday maybe I'll just never come again. I got a slice of pizza with a coupon at the Big Y and then came home. I called Time Design at 1:50pm and was told that C. William Lynch doesn't work there. Caller ID showed that PaineWebber had called while I was out, but I didn't call back.

At 6:05pm I headed back out to attend the Canned Heat concert at Stearns Square. I parked in front of the Chestnut Street telephone building (and found bird shit all over my car when I got back) and arrived at Stearns Square a few minutes after 7pm. There was already a large and enthusiastic audience listening to the backup band. Rock 102 had their banners stuck up on trees and on a firetruck parked by the old Bloom's. There was a van selling balloons and souvenirs, including glowing rainbow necklaces. A beer wagon had a long line all evening, despite selling beers at $3 each. I counted 18 people standing in line, and I suspect that was the only booth that made any real money off the event.

The Union-News/Republican had a booth where if you picked two numbers and they matched you got a prize. I won a booby prize consisting of a clear plastic water bottle with the newspaper logo on it in black. They gave away the same thing at a trade fair I attended. There was a food booth from Theodore's that had a grill, but I didn't see anyone buying anything. The crew in the Theodore's booth wore t-shirts that read "On the 8th Day God Got the Blues." Between the first band and Canned Heat there was a break of almost a full hour, during which recorded music was played, but nobody seemed to mind. There were lots of people wearing leather around, and when I arrived there were about fifty motorcycles parked along Worthington, Bridge and Picknelly's lot. In my fully black boots and collar outfit I was right in style! Everything appeared to be fine, but if the bikers ever decided to riot the cops would have to go running back to Pearl Street!

There were a few folding chairs around, but not enough. A young girl whom I didn't recognize came up to me at one point and asked, "Where is your orange suit?" When I told her I only wear it at special events she exclaimed, "This IS a special event!" I admitted she was right but said I was wearing black tonight in solidarity with the approaching Black Fights Back Day. Robert Turin walked by and uttered an unsmiling but polite hello. Mike Plaisance from the Union-News came over to interview me, but I warned him that I am not David Starr's favorite person and just gave him my card after writing Eamon's telephone number on the back. Plaisance is a young, hip looking fellow, I told him I thought the event was an artistic success but I'm not sure it helps the local merchants that much.

I walked around and counted nine people on the benches outside the Hotel Worthy and six people visible through the window at Gus & Paul's. There was no one in Spaghetti Freddy's but 34 in Champions. There were 16 in Mad Maggie's pool hall and 25 in Pizzeria Uno. Theodore's was packed, but only two customers were in Naismith's. I figured there were about 1200 people present, a good crowd but not many blacks. The music of Canned Heat relies heavily on guitars and harmonica. I got home around 9:45pm.

Eamon called and said his sister regularly plays bingo with his cousin Jimmy Sullivan, who is the brother of former Springfield Mayor Billy Sullivan. Jim used to be in charge of the turnpike tolls between Springfield and Worcester. After he retired from that, he used his political pull to get a job at the Basketball Hall of Fame. Eamon also said that his sister heard from Jim that the reason Gibson resigned as director of the Hall was that there were big disagreements between him and the Board. Gibson's background was in baseball and the Board didn't like that he was applying baseball marketing techniques to basketball. The sister also said she heard there were financial irregularities at the Hall, but when she asked Jimmy Sullivan about it "he clammed up."

I like Eamon's current phone editorial: "Springfield is a last place ranked city with a junk bond rating. It is badly served by a monopoly rag newspaper and two cookie cutter Ken and Barbie television stations. They say how hard they're working for you with all the coverage you can count on, but it's mostly about the weather and other idle nonsense. The third grade news copy poorly read off of teleprompters is well suited to Springfield's dumbed down, spoon fed Joe and Martha Sixpack. These talking airheads with their helmet hairdos, perfect teeth and pancake makeup are a disgrace to investigative reporting."

September 8, 2000

62 degrees at 7:30am.

An immense Mayan Palace has been discovered in the jungles of Guatemala. Nader the Hatter sent me a postcard saying, "I'm in no hurry to head north." I called Mrs. Staniski and invited her over to lunch, but she was busy preparing supper for guests. She said she will get her new oil tank on Monday, an oil delivery on Tuesday and a trip to the dermatologist on Thursday to look at her nose. Her face has large moles all over it and her nose has a bright red spot on the tip. I fear for her.

Secure Horizons brag in their ads that they value honesty and give "straight answers." So at 9:16am I dialed their number and got Diane. I asked straight out, "How many lawsuits are currently pending against Secure Horizons?" She replied, "If there are any lawsuits against us I don't know about it." I asked, "Is there any way to find out?" She said she'd get her supervisor and Janet came on. She told me, "To be perfectly honest with you, I don't know the answer to that." I thanked her for her frank reply and hung up. It was fun. Finally, I called and got Ann at the Basketball Hall of Fame and she connected me to Director Gibson's voicemail. I left a message asking Gibson why he never replied to the letter I sent him and explained how on the equal dignity theory he should still send me one.

I went out at noon and left off the picture I took of Cindy at Louis & Clark with the tall, thin lady in the prescriptions department. Then I went to Freihofer's in West Springfield and got two cheesecakes and a crumb cake. Next, I had lunch at the Ground Round. When it was new it must have been a nice place, but it has fallen behind the times. The bar is in the back and there were a few framed pieces of local ephemera on the walls. In the Men's Room there hung a framed picture of workers eating on a girder high above New York. There were stains on the glass that looked like somebody had jacked off on it. I was seated at a square table that was sticky where someone had spilled beer on it.

I ordered the burger dinner with soup and salad, which came to $9.96. For the soup I had clam chowder, which had lots of flower, milk and potatoes but only one piece of clam. The salad was $1.99 and I told the waitress I could get the whole salad bar at Ruby Tuesday for the same price. She replied sadly, "I know." I got a large plate of salad with greens and a couple slices of cucumber, a couple of chunks of tomato and a few pieces of onion. I said I wanted a lot of dressing, so they gave me two cups of bleu cheese, which were all goo except for a piece of cheese the size of the tip of your thumb in one of them. The burger was well done on an untoasted roll with shredded lettuce, tomato and onion rings. Years ago, going to the Ground Round may have been a real treat, but compared to what others now offer it is a sad performance. The place was empty when I left and later, when I drove by Ruby Tuesday, I noticed that their parking lot was full.

Eamon called, and when I told him about the Court Square concert he recalled how bikers used to gather at Salerno's on Liberty. He said bikers are known to spend a lot of money in a place they like. Eamon also recalled how talk show host Dan Yorke used to hang out at Theodore's a lot and we discussed how both of us went on the Yorke Show when Tom Devine was guest hosting. Eamon told me that Eddie O'Brien of Westfield, against whom Marshall Moriarty is running to unseat, is in his mid-seventies and was a heavy smoker who has emphysema. Eamon feels that Moriarty can't win because the 8th District is an enormous territory to cover and would cost a fortune to advertise in. Eamon said someone told him that Tom Devine is actively involved in the Moriarty campaign.

September 9, 2000

I saw a dove sitting on my clothesline this morning.

Today I donned my logger boots, orange jumpsuit, marijuana t-shirt, collar without chain, orange kerchief head-hankie and four buttons: rainbow Gay Rights are Civil Rights, standard white peace symbol in black field, Challenge Authority in white on black field and a large Jesse Jackson for President button, and headed to the downtown rally for Marshall Moriarty's campaign for Governor's Councilor. I brought along my gong and a woodhandled screwdriver with which to hit it.

I left at 10:30am and parked on Dwight beside the old New England Telephone and Telegraph building. I arrived at the Moriarty gathering at Court Square about 10:45am and Moriarty himself came over and cordially greeted me. Fred Whitney was also there and seemed taken aback by my attire, but politely said "we welcome all types of Republicans." Tom Devine was there with his two little nieces, he must have been babysitting them. We successfully kept apart from each other.

A man was passing out Bush $2000 bills and gave me one. There were 17 Asians present passing out flyers about the Vietnamese organization in the X. Only two blacks were present. I was chatting with Peter Abair and Ron Hastie when Mrs. Moriarty came by passing out white on blue signs. They also had button stickers. There were red, white and blue balloons with Moriarty festooned on them attached to the pillars on either side of the podium - this was the Court Square iron gazebo with a copper dome.

Atty. Marshall Moriarty at his campaign kick-off.

Someone was there with a video camera, I don't know who, and they didn't stay long. The City failed to turn on the juice for the sound system, but in due course that was remedied. At four minutes past eleven I decided to test my gong and gave it a good bounce, which brought the gathering to order and soon we had people at the podium giving speeches. Fortunately, the speeches were short and Moriarty's was especially good. He spoke of "change, rebirth and restoration" of the Governor's Council. Moriarty promised to use the office an an avenue of input to the Governor for Western Mass and described himself as having "through failure, success and life experience grown to maturity." He spoke of his Irish firefighter father and Italian mother, how he grew up in Winchester now Mason Square and thanked his wife of thirty years and three sons.

I counted 80 people in attendance as of 11:15am. Whenever there was major applause I banged my gong. After it was over Moriarty thanked me for coming, then before leaving I chatted a bit more with F. Whitney. I praised Moriarty's speech and I was surprised when Whitney claimed that he had actually written the speech for Moriarty with a little help from Tom Devine. The weather had been beautiful throughout Moriarty's event, but now clouds were gathering.

From Moriarty's rally I walked over to the Mattoon Street Arts Festival, where many people expressed worry about rain. Bill Boyle was there and didn't look delighted at my appearance. Louise Minks was there with some of the same pictures she was selling last year. I told her she should have sold them a dozen times by now. The Springfield Preservation Trust had a booth. Larlin was playing a good sized Irish harp and down the other end a guy was playing sax. Paul Murray with helmet in hand said again how we must get together, but we never do. As always, the festival was nice, but may be struggling financially. There seemed to be fewer booths, buyers and vendors than in the past. Empty spaces all along Mattoon bespoke dealers who didn't come and spots never rented. There was no Hayward, Gnatek or Doyle the Twig Painter. I got home at 1:15pm and by 2:11pm it was really raining. Dined this evening on a Hungry Man Chicken Dinner and some broccoli.

September 10, 2000

Overcast, 68 degrees at 8am.

This was a lovely day and I hope it revived the Mattoon Street Arts Festival. Public Radio had a BBC woman making a report and I noticed how she placed the word stresses in different places than we Americans do. Susan Tozzo is head of marketing at Heritage Commons in Middletown, Connecticut. I put up my Moriarty for Governor's Council sign in the best location on my treebelt, the first political sign I've put up this year. The For Sale sign in front of the DeRiso house is gone.

Went out to McDonald's at 9:55am, but there was a long line at both service stations so I left. I swung by and got a cheap melon on sale at Food Mart. Five Town Mall has a new woman's clothing place opening and a new building is going up. While Springfield's inner city continues to die while grasping at entertainment arts prospects, there is an extraordinary exuberance in the construction of chain shops elsewhere in the city. Next I ate at the Acres Burger King which had just two old lady customers in there. There was only one car in the parking lot of the Allen Street Wendy's.

I left at 1:03pm to see the Open House at 88 Ashland. The brokerlady told me that the real estate market is up and it's a good time to sell your house. She said the houses in this neighborhood have risen steadily in value since the 1980's. 88 Ashland is immaculate, with an expansive kitchen, small livingroom and the bathroom near the front. There are three bedrooms upstairs and a larger than normal bathroom with no windows. The basement is unfinished, messy unlike the rest of the house, and with no hatchway out. The stairs to the basement could use a coat of paint. Overall, the house is overpriced at $129,000.

The newspaper story on the Moriarty rally claimed 60 people were there. I counted 80. Eamon called and said he spoke to Dot Lortie yesterday, and she said a house in Springfield is a good investment, so he lectured her about the bad schools and crime in the city. He also said his late Mother would talk to at least a dozen people a day on the phone, sometimes more. That's why he and his mother had separate lines. Eamon's mother made a lot of friends from her annual pilgrimage to St. Anne de Beaupre in Quebec, which is a trip she took for many years. Eamon got a fundraising letter from Rick Lazio in New York which said in part, "It won't take me six pages to convince you to send me an urgently needed contribution for my United States Senate campaign. It will take only six words: I am running against Hillary Rodham Clinton."

Eamon's newest phone editorial is an attack on the local media, dismissing the "sickening, airhead television stations" which he denounced as "devoted to advertising, weather, sports and health reports." He claims there is only ten or twelve minutes of actual news coverage per half hour, consisting mainly of "house fires, dog bite cases and automobile accidents." Of course he also slammed the "monopoly rag Union-News" which he says carries "three day old stories unfit for print by a real newspaper."

Eamon asked me if I would call and alert the news media to his editorial, so I called TV40 and said, "Eamon T. O'Sullivan has a wonderful editorial about your station on his answering machine at 746-6164." Then silence on the other end. I asked, "Are you still there?" Yes. "Are you going to thank me for calling?" Thanks. When I called TV22 they were much politer with a man replying "very good" and thanking me for calling. Finally I called the Union-News and spoke to their receptionist Jennifer who then asked, "Who is Eamon O'Sullivan?" I called Eamon back and told him about my calls, and when I told him about the response of the Union-News he laughed out loud.

September 11, 2000

Robert W. Pyers is director of Marketing and Sales for the Economic Development Council of Western Mass. His address is 255 Padgette Street in Chicopee. Marion L. Bairstow is Director of Marketing for Chestnut Village West in Chester, Connecticut. Eamon mailed me an article from Connecticut Magazine on eldercare. I asked a policeman the other day who was right where I was idling for the red light, why they have the cement barriers near the intersection of Boston and Pasco Roads and he said because of heavy trucks turning at that intersection, which wears out the blacktop.

Today I called Kelly at the Heidelberg Admissions Office and she will send me their catalog addressed to Cappy Miller. She said the Willard Residence Hall "is still just standing there after the fire." Then I called the Chamber of Commerce who told me Ann Burke's title is Project Manager for Springfield Economic Development. I spoke briefly with Shirley Whittier-Huang about Aunt Maria. I said either my Aunt Maria is competent or she isn't. If she isn't competent than that has certain consequences. If she is competent, than she should watch her tongue and stop badmouthing people, including me.

I called Rev. Karen Montana-Gutowski, who lives on Ohio Avenue in West Springfield and is Pastor of the Liberty and Chicopee Falls Methodist churches. There was static on the phone line and she said the telephone company was working on fixing it. We discussed the ancient postcard I have of the Liberty Street church and told her I would send her a copy of it along with a more recent one from the 1950's. She was unaware of Robert Holcomb's historical sketches of Springfield. Vivacious and high pitched in voice, Karen is a graduate of Elms because it was the only school around with an undergraduate major in religion. She described Elms as a very open minded institution, after which she went to the Wesley Seminary in Washington.

The Reverend told me that her ancestors were from an orphanage in Italy where they were given the last name Montani because the orphanage was at the foot of Montani Mountain. Once in America, they changed their name to Montana. She is related to Raymond Montana, who was a Principal in Springfield. Her husband was a Polish Catholic who was told by the church that if he married a Protestant it would be the same as marrying a heathen, so he quit the Catholic Church to become a Methodist "and never looked back." She also told me her grandfather was married to a niece of President James A. Garfield. We briefly discussed Akron Style church construction and the Zion's Herald. In closing, I told Rev. Montana-Gutowski that I am delighted by the quality of the people in the Methodist pulpits around here, as they are much better than I can remember at any time in the past.

Called Mrs. Staniski and she said her new oil tank is in and Carol is coming over on Wednesday to help her clean. She said some relatives from New Hampshire will visit this week. TV22 sexpot Sonia Baghdady mispronounced the name of a team playing UMass on the news today. R. Tettemer pronounced the word correctly. I called TV22 and complained and the woman replied, "She may have just slipped, I appreciate you calling." Finally, I called Roseann Taylor, the General Manager of the Colony Club, and asked her if they received the copy of Mother's obituary I sent them. She replied yes and said they placed it in their files. I said I wondered about it because I never heard anything back from them and I thought it might be an example of the Colony Club's reputation for being a bunch of snobs. There was silence so I said, "A pleasant good day to you, Roseann," and hung up. The truth is you can be snappy with people who aren't going to be polite to you anyway.

September 12, 2000

Gas is $4.00 per gallon in Great Britain. Rain in Texas after 73 days of drought. Vice President Gore was on TV saying people "should devote themselves to reading their entire lives." Senator John McCain, when asked if he'd ever run for President again replied, "Everybody has their time." The population of Rochester, New York was 295,000 in 1970, 242,000 in 1980 and 230,000 now. Midtown Plaza is being boarded up and everybody is moving to the suburbs. Kodak and Xerox once employed two-thirds of the local workforce, but no more.

Alison Maloney on TV40 said that UMass is getting strict about curtailing student partying. The Red Cross is giving away tickets to the Eastern States Exposition to blood donors. Shirley Whittier Huang lives in Oberlin, Ohio. Diane M. Way is Director of Sales at The Shelburne Bay Senior Living Community in Shelburne, Vermont. Maureen McCarthy is a Consumer Sales Representative for The Gillette Company in Boston. The Bushnell in Hartford is holding a musical Battle of the Sexes with the Manhattans and Main Ingredient representing the males and the Marvelettes and Carol Douglas representing the females.

Today was Ten Cent Bus Ride Day. Started the day by writing checks for my taxes and household bills. Had hash and eggs for breakfast. Then I called Homer Street School and got Darcy who said the Principal now is Bobbie Renox, Brown retired last year. I asked if a history of the school has ever been written and she said "not to my knowledge." I asked if they ever issued any postcards of the school and she said no. Went out at 10:30am, there were two cruisers pulled up in front of Louis & Clark casually chatting away. I put out the mail, then deposited at Ludlow/Charter One.

I bought gas for $1.57 at the corner of Alden and Wilbraham Road, $21 dollars didn't quite fill the tank. Stopped by Lyndale Garage, but they said Bobby wasn't in today. I collected some posters around Mason Square, then got a free kid's calculator at Eastfield Mall with a coupon. The new restaurant 99 is open, there will soon be a Victoria's Secret opening behind it. At 1pm I counted 39 people in 99, which is decorated real nice with color blow-ups of classic Springfield postcards. Looking in at Friendly's, there were only 8 people there. I recall that Friendly's used to occupy more space when the mall first opened. I saw a fast walking tall man in the mall wearing a Yale t-shirt. I asked if he actually went to Yale and he laughed and said no. When I got home, I decided to call Friendly's and got the President's Secretary and told her the numbers I counted in Friendly's versus the 99 Restaurant. She simply replied, "All right," and hung up.

Pearsall from Wilbraham Town Hall called and I told him I definitely want to transfer my family's riverfront property to the town. He said these things happen at a glacial speed but said he definitely wants the land. I told him how we once had a large offer of money for it, but I prefer to give it away as a memorial to my parents. He said he would call me again on the 19th. Took in in the mail today straight from the mailman's hand and pointed out to him the white dove that's been hanging around here lately. Got a copy of Holy Humor from Mother's friend Mrs. Staniski.

Eamon called and said his tax buddy warned him, "Don't drop your pants for the IRS" by co-operating with them when they want money. He said, "Co-operation plus records equals prison." Eamon told me that he was talking about Friendly's recently with an old couple he knows and they complained that Friendly's is too expensive now. I praised 99 to him, but he never wants to go to any place I suggest. He explained that his time as a health inspector during the O'Connor Administration has made him skeptical of eating out. He claims that most restaurants "are always ten times filthier than you imagine." I said that attitude reminded me of Mother when she worked in the Monarch Claims Department and always suspected people of fraud.

September 13, 2000

Rained overnight, 73 degrees at 8:30am.

Public radio had a story about the pervasive presence of performance enhancing drugs among Olympic athletes. After all, we have to win! The Galaxy Family of Mutual Funds operates out of Providence, Rhode Island. Marshall Moriarty was on WFCR at 12:06pm talking about his campaign. A guy in his twenties at Food Mart the other day paid for his goods, rolled his carriage out to the edge of the parking lot and then jumped on the carriage and rode it down the slope of the lot about 200 feet to his car. Shall we call that Extreme Shopping?

Dined on hash and eggs on Monday, chicken nuggets and salad on Tuesday. I haven't had the air conditioner on all summer. Alison from the Flatiron Capital Corporation in Boulder, Colorado called saying she got my name off "an asset builders list," a nice euphemism for a sucker if I ever heard one. They want me to help build their assets! I told her not to call again. The mail brought a letter from Aunt Martha saying she likes the credit union manuscript by Father I sent her because he never wrote her a letter and she had no sample of his handwriting. I also received a membership bill from the Elms Irish Cultural Center and a check for $118.90 from Fleet.

Kathryn M. Nylic, publisher of the Valley Advocate and the former Springfield Advocate newspapers, died Sunday in Holyoke Hospital at the age of 46 from cancer. Last year the Advocate lost their Sales Executive Al LeBeau to cancer and Advocate executive Vicky Ryan was killed this year in a car accident. Next month, the Advocate will be moving into new offices in Easthampton. Ms. Nylic must have been a great little woman because she ran a great little paper. Went out around 3:15pm to make copies at CopyCat. Mr. Holman from is it 91 Birchland came in and I surrendered the machine to let him make a few copies. The guy on the other machine was copying a book on Custer's last stand borrowed from UMass.

Eamon called and said he usually gets his copies made inside the backdoor of the Tarbell-Watters building by his friends Jack and Antaya. They do work for Baystate Medical, Friendly's, the Diocese of Springfield and Henderson Funeral Home. His latest phone editorial received 38 calls today. Eamon's sources tell him there are several Grand Juries hearing evidence in local corruption cases. He said another source told him that Linda Melconian's husband, a Scibelli who works for Mass Mutual, was picked up with $450,000 on him and the authorities want to know where it came from. There have also been people picked up at Phillip's Mass Career Development Institute who were found to have large sums in their possession. What's going on there?

September 14, 2000

Engineers aren't perfect and when they fail people die.

Mt. Holyoke has sold the Skinner Estate to become a residential music school for the handicapped. The local farmers are complaining about the falling price of milk. WFCR is plugging what they cleverly call their Final Vinyl Sale. Dan Caccavaro has a nice tribute to Kathy Nylic in the Valley Advocate. Denise Curtin is the Executive Assistant at Arbors at Hop Brook in Manchester Connecticut. Donna M. Strattman is their Retirement Councilor. At 6:18pm someone called and when I picked up and said good evening in my professional manner there was no voice on the other end.

Tonight I skipped the final Stearns Square Block Party, but the 5:30pm news had Tom Bevacqua reporting from the event live downtown. He interviewed restaurant owner Victor Bruno (son of Al) who claimed that last week "a few thousand people" came to the concert. That is an exaggeration, but there was a good crowd. Bruno said that after the concert people "just flowed in" to his establishment. The manger of Theodore's was also on and said "we were absolutely packed last week." That was how it was when I went by there, as noted in this diary. Eamon called and said that Art Gingras told him that reducing class size in not the answer. Gingras said his classes have been reduced in size but still the students learn nothing.

Today I completed and delivered my Elms Irish Cultural Center memo. I decided to dress high queer for Elms with black logger boots, black jeans, Black Power t-shirt and my bondage collar with a new feature - I attached my dog tag to the ring of my bondage collar and it dangles down looking wonderfully ridiculous. On the way there I stopped and parked on Massachusetts Avenue and made copies on the microfilm copier at the AIC library of Father's essay on the Monarch Credit Union. The new machine is nice but finicky and several times it jammed. I was there from 11:30 to 12:45. The library's freebie rack is gone and that's too bad because I sometimes got good stuff off of it.

I also swung by to get the prints of the Costello Paint Shop and then paused at Angelo's and got some nice things including peaches and grapes. I next stopped by Cat's Paw, where Vince told me he needs to have an operation to fix a clot in a vein in his head. Yet, he was in good cheer and Claudia let me have an antique Quaker bean pot for $30. I also bought $12 worth of assorted postcards. Claudia and Vince have always treated me nicely. Then on to Randall's where I bought two pounds of shell beans for $1.99 per and was a true "bean counter." At that price I had no intention of paying primarily for pods, so I carefully felt each pod I took and any with less than six beans in them I threw back in the basket. Some had seven and even eight.

A female school crossing guard with no kids to attend to at the moment was gabbing on her cell phone at the corner of Bay and Berkshire. I was surprised to see lots of Asselin for State Rep signs in Chicopee. Springfield Street is dug up and the curbs are being reset. I finally arrived at Elms around 2:40pm. and had great fun. This time I interacted with the Dean of Faculty herself, Dr. Ann E. Harrison, a good looking, sprightly and vivacious professional woman with a bubbly personality. I guess my outfit caught her attention as I came through the door and she cheerfully greeted me. She reminds me of Colleen in some ways. Dr. Harrison was wearing sandals and there was a sign on the bulletin board that read, "Women don't have hot flashes - they have energy surges."

We made small talk and I said I would like to meet Tom Moriarty someday as I told her he "has never had the privilege of meeting me." (Some privilege, she no doubt thought). I also mentioned my academic credentials, but of course they are not looking for a Miltonist. I handed her my envelope of material for her to read and told her I would like a receipt. She looked at the envelope as if she thought coming from a character like me the envelope might contain a bomb. I told her I wanted the receipt written on a full sheet of paper.

We parted with the customary pleasantries, but as I was headed out the front door I noticed that the receipt hadn't been signed. So I went back and said something about the lack of signature and how we Methodists are not very trusting. She said something nice about John Wesley and thanked me again for the reading material and postcards, which she called "photographs." When she reads what I wrote, perhaps she will conclude that my envelope did contain a bomb after all.

September 16, 2000

Overcast and rainy at 7:30am.

Prince Henry is 15 today, how thrilling! Public Radio had a story about a woman in Missouri who bought 35,000 Earth Shoes and bellbottom pants when they were just past their fashion peak and is now selling them in Japan. Ray Herschel did a story today on the historic Rivoli Theater in Chicopee. Debbie LaJoie is the District Manager for Dunkin' Donuts in Chicopee. I saw a woman in an African orange body wrap garment standing on the corner of WNEC and 16 Acres Gardens. Colleen never thanked me for the driveway repair patch I sent over there for her. Obviously, I've been snubbed. Perhaps Steve and Sue Root have given her an earful about me.

This day I assembled Father's History of the Monarch Credit Union for presentation to President MacDonald down to the Western Mass Telephone Worker's Credit Union. I called Mrs. Staniski and told her it was too rainy to go to lunch. She told me that she has been diagnosed as having melanoma on the tip of her nose and has an appointment with Dr. Stark. I had shelled beans and husked corn for lunch. Rothbury Farms makes good croutons. The mail came a little late today, bringing a reply from Heidelberg, but nothing from Mrs. Hall's School. Lemke's name is not in the Heidelberg catalog, so perhaps he's passed on. I also got a new, blue Campus Ministry brochure from WNEC. It seems to have none of the errors that were in the earlier version I corrected. And what is Helen doing and Day's Funeral Home for that matter?

In the trash can at Louis & Clark I found that someone had chucked all the Sixteen Acres Newsletters. I took them out and put them back on the floor with the other free papers by the door. Later I left a message with Jean Masse telling her what I had done, signing off as "The Anonymous Dumpster Diver." I went by Food Mart for the specials on the way home. I bought some Kozy Shack Rice Pudding, about the size of a cottage cheese container and it is very nice. I circled over down Breckwood past Tom Devine's and he has no Marshall Moriarty sign up. So far mine is the only Moriarty sign I've seen, so let the record show that Miller was the first one to get it up!

I called Eamon tonight and told him about Mrs. Staniski and he said his mother's first melanoma was frozen off by a Dr. Stoddard, whom he said had more diplomas on his office wall than he's ever seen. She was operated on at Baystate. He told me he was up to the Vets Hospital yesterday and they had a big pile of Valley Advocates. Eamon thinks Righty Keough is in political trouble. He says he has had a hard time getting through to Righty these days, he leaves messages but never hears back. Eamon recalls that the owner of Costello's Paint was some sort of low grade Irish politician "they all are" and he thinks Costello may even have served on the City Council or School Committee at one point.

September 17, 2000

Absolutely beautiful fall day, 56 degrees at 8am.

The typewriter I'm using today wears out ribbons less than the Royal downstairs that hacks them to death. Tom Thomas, class of '63, is in charge of this year's Colby Planned Giving Drive. Holyoke industrialist Donald Taber was honored at a reception at Holyoke Community College recently. Taber was the top executive at Holyoke's American Pad & Paper Co. until his retirement in 1974.

I called Mrs. Staniski, who agreed to come over, but then asked, "Can we eat first?" She said she hadn't eaten since breakfast at 6:30am. I left at 12:20pm and picked her up, heading directly to Ruby Tuesday on Boston Road. Mrs. Staniski said that when she and her daughter Ann drove past it the first time, they didn't like the way it looked. Now she says she has come to like it. There was no line, unlike when I came with the Vermont relatives over Labor Day. We both had the unlimited salad bar and I also ordered a cheeseburger and french fries. Mrs. Staniski ate some of the fries. I had a mug of water and she had coffee, which was refilled once.

Mrs. Staniski told me there is a controversy dividing South Church, as gays are teaching the little kids in Sunday School that gay is good. She went to Trinity Methodist last week, she likes both of the pastors and thinks they give good sermons. Ann had to travel 200 miles to an event in New Hampshire recently, after playing organ in her usual church in Boston. To my surprise, she complained that Warren Ammerman exploited Ann as a student by asking her to perform a lot which cut into her regular studies and lowered her grades.

One of Mrs. Staniski's grandsons sent her a postcard from Buenos Aires, she is happy for him, saying he has "turned his life around." She just finished reading Carson's Silent Spring and for the first time she is reading Pilgrim's Progress. Mrs. S. admired my frames more than my pictures, when I pointed out a picture she would say, "What a lovely frame!" She expressed surprise over all the things I have placed in Mother's urn, saying that I should have given the jewelry away to relatives. Mrs. Staniski also said that she is disgusted by Springfield politics and doesn't think the city will recover in a hundred years.

Before we left, Mrs. Staniski excused herself, saying she always likes to check the toilets to see how clean they are. When we got to the car, next to us was a nice young fellow with a baby in his arms who said his wife is a waitress at Ruby's and he is the Executive Chef at Tilly's downtown. On the way home Mrs. Staniski told me about her grandmother who came over from Czechoslovakia with a tureen full of butter, but since the trip took three weeks, the butter was spoiled by the time she arrived. Mrs. Staniski still has the tureen. At one point I explained to her that I'm a stay at home type of guy. I've taken care to get all the books I'll ever want, and now that I've got 'em, I'm going to use 'em!

So I brought her to my house and as always she was amazed by all my stuff and the examples I showed her of Mother's thrift. She said she could use a flashlight, so I took one of the ones lying in the clutter and gave it to her. I also gave her a picture taken at Lois Hastings place in 1980, as well as a bag of croutons. I showed her a picture of Father, Vanderbrouk and others at Father's 25 years of service party at Monarch. I took her home at 3:30pm and told her to bring Ann next time, but she said Ann is too busy. I guess Ann finally caught on that I'm gay, so she's not chasing me anymore.

In recent months, Springfield has cleared a thousand arrest warrants, but there are 28,000 left. Eamon called and said that the Springfield police don't bother investigating the local mafia, claiming that they don't have the money to do it. He read me the interview in this morning's paper with the Marketing Director of the Basketball Hall of Fame and we laughed and laughed. He claimed the Hall had 120,000 guests this year, itself an exaggeration, but then absurdly suggested it will grow to 400,000, thanks to having hired a Direct Sales Associate. A bullshit artist he is, indeed.

September 18, 2000

Lovely, sunny day, 60 degrees at 9am.

A photograph that appeared in Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine in an ad for the Westcore Blue Chip Fund features a model that looks very much like me as a little kid, the same haircut, round face, glasses and most of all the striped jerseys I wore when I was a boy. The latest Dollars & Sense, the newsletter for the Telephone Worker's Credit Union, says they have abandoned the Insurance Center of New England and are now offering their discounted insurance through Abodeely Insurance Agency. What is that all about? A story in the paper says that people around Stearns Square are complaining about all the noise from the nightclubs. Friendly's stock is down to 3.68.

CopyCat has a woman working there now in addition to the two fellows. Charter One Bank is on Main Street in Indian Orchard. Mother wrote her last check on September 1, 1998 to me for regular expenses. Dined on Wheaties, peaches and rice pudding. I am currently reading Health Stories #3 (1935). I went out at 9:30am and dropped off magazines with my neighbors Irving and Lenore Cohn. They returned the books I let them borrow on Judge Frankfurer and Judge Judy. We chatted, Mr. Cohn is a learned tho not highly educated man who has always tried to do good and is aspirational in his thinking. I fear he finds me too negative.

From the Cohn's I drove out to Fleet/Bank of Boston in the Acres and left a complaint with Judy Wing, who didn't know whether the construction of safety deposit boxes at the Boston Road site has begun. Continuing on to the Lyndale Garage, Bobby Vendovelli said he's booked up for a month but looked at the tail light and said he would fix it if he can find the part. I asked how much it would cost and he said around $125. We'll see what happens. When I got home, Mrs. Staniski called and said she could use a Springfield road map, so I will give her a couple. I called the city Economic Development Office and copied their menu of people: Teresa Wesley, Director of Operations, Thomas McColgan, Director, Attorney Robert Warren, Jim Madden, Industrial Development, Lisa Cignoli, Marketing and Ann Burke, listed at the end with no title. The mail brought a burial certificate from Day Funeral Home, nothing from Helen.

Barry next door was at his workbench in the garage throughout the afternoon and evening. I spent the evening until bedtime throwing out receipts from old bills from Mother's final illness. Among them were bills from Providence Diagnostic Imaging Inc. and Gino Mercadante Internal Medicine, both in Ludlow. Why didn't these people find or at least suspect Mother's fatal tumor? The new Law Tribune arrived with an article on Mass Mutual that Colleen would like to see. It also has a big ad that WNEC is looking for a new dean. When I went out for the mail, I noticed Mr. Bradley was walking home from WNEC and we had a respectable chat and I invited him in. I swiftly showed him my library, and he told me he retired at 63 last year but still teaches one evening course and has a consultant job with Milton Bradley. His son is working in Northampton as a nutritionist. He liked my Punch print and the Danner and of course everyone gazes at the large deep in the woods painting.

September 19, 2000

Overcast and 64 degrees. Gas is $1.55 at Watershops Pond.

Acting Governor Jane Swift has been fined $1,250 for improperly making state employees look after her kid. C. Wright Mills used to use a motorcycle to commute to Columbia in the 1950's. Springboard Technology, founded in 1993, is a global minority owned and operated company headquartered in Springfield. Dined on a tossed salad tonight and a Hungry Man Salsbury Steak Dinner.

This was Primary Election Day. I voted around 11:15 over to Glickman School, where I was voter number 24. Obviously there was a very low turnout. I am registered as an independent, but took the Democratic Party ballot and voted in all sorts of naughty ways, including voting for myself for Hampden County Sheriff. First thing today I drove out to Wilbraham to meet with Mr. Pearsall and T. Capparello in the conference room of Wilbraham Town Hall from 9am to 9:50. Capparello told me she got her degree from Union, while Pearsall said he has a bachelor's degree in psych from Tufts and degrees in geology and planning from UMass. Capparello primarily took notes. Pearsall gave me an aerial photo of King Drive. When I left I told them I would send them a memo by Tuesday responding to what was said.

After leaving Wilbraham, I went to the Eastfield Mall, where I mailed a pile of letters. A lot of people are about to receive messages from me, some of them unwelcome. I went into Vibrations and got Manic Panic lavender hair color. From there I went to the barber at the Acres where he scalped me except for a Mohawk. He told me he has been barbering at the Mall for 34 years. Stuffed animals decorate the shop, taxidermied that is, three heads over the mirror and a full bobcat. I read the paper while waiting for the barber, which had a story about the Union Market closing.

When I got home I put the hair color on immediately. Then I called Homer Street School again to verify that the Principal there is Bobbie L. Rennix. I also called Duggan at 787-7410 and the Principal there is Thomas Keating, who told me that Clement is now Principal at Warner. Next I headed downtown to STCC to deliver some reading material to President Scibelli. The secretary looked at me and smiled, I was dressed full queer with my leather collar and dog tag, black t-shirt reading Berlin in lavender and black jeans tucked into logger boots. A wonderful outfit.

Then down to the Telephone Worker's Credit Union, where President P.C. MacDonald came right out and appeared genuinely pleased with Father's credit union history. MacDonald said he is Scotch and Irish. I then delivered some material to Russell Denver's receptionist. I also left something with Barbara Gray at Charlie Ryan's office on the 9th floor and saw that the paintings were all gone. Lewandowski said they gave the paintings to the Quadrangle, maybe they got the idea from me. Over at the Community Foundation Mike Riley came out and gave me a receipt on my business card.

Men were setting up tables outside Tilly's. I got a Job Corps sticker off of a telephone pole. When I got to the School Department, I had to wait around awhile because Rosemary Shea was out to lunch. When she got back she gave me a copy of the Negroni piece Creating High Achieving Schools: A Proposal With Supporting Action Plan. Leaving, I saw Brian McCook waddling down State Street in a blue jacket and chino pants. Next I paused at the courthouse for some forms, then intended to go eat lunch at Subway. The downtown Subway has a new menu which omits the 99 cents deli-baloney sandwiches I love. They now have more expensive deli sandwiches, everything is $1.89 which is too high.

Heading back to the car, I saw that the sidewalk in front of The Paramount is all dug up. Driving home I stopped at Homer, where the Principal now has an office on the second floor where the grand piano used to be overlooking the playground. Principal Bobbie L. Rennix is an articulate and friendly black woman. At Duggan I was harassed by campaigners insisting I take their leaflets. A male assistant named Lapan took my material and promised to give it to Principal Thomas Keating, no questions asked.

When I got back, Eamon called and said he talked to Nader the Hatter, who says he loves it in Florida. Nader is trying to make some real estate deals down there. He recalled to Eamon how old man Nader was a high school chum of Matty Ryan, whom he asked to help him get his license back, however, the Nader kids found out and put a stop to it.

September 20, 2000

Sunny and 70 degrees at 10am.

Stimulation is the mother of inspiration.

WFCR says the U.S. Women's Olympic Tennis Team looks good. USA Today says that performance enhancing drugs in the Olympics is a real problem. I say why even have an Olympics? The Barnes Foundation of Philly is broke so they want to raise $85 million. Wow! Mercy Hospital is located at 299 Carew Street in Springfield. John M. Pearsall is the Planning and Community Development Administrator for the Town of Wilbraham. Tonya L. Capparello is the Assistant Town Engineer. Kerry O'Keefe is the Marketing Coordinator for Advance Communication Systems in Easthampton. Burke Medical Equipment Inc. is in Chicopee.

I cut my fingernails today, they were as long as they have ever been. I also went to the free prostate screening today. A lot of my purple hair dye has faded, but I wore a cap to the screening anyway. It was at 3300 Main Street and I was in and out in less than a half hour. I had to park on Birnie Avenue because the parking lot was full. I saw a bumpersticker on a small, black pick-up truck (which had an Irish flag in the back window) reading "Kiss My Shamrock."

3300 Main is a lavish, modern building which suggests that Baystate Medical has plenty of money. On the first floor there is a pharmacy, a library and a fireplace with an oil painting over it of the Moore Drop Forge building, which I believe once stood on that site. They also have a dining room, a snack bar and a tiny gift shop. There was art hanging all around, plus a spiral staircase and elevator. Dr. Sonn said there was no problem, although he didn't seem to feel around as much as the doctor last time. There were also no coffee and donuts offered this time. I left at 11:25am, swung by Eamon's to drop off a bag of reading material, paused at Angelo's for fruit and was home at 12:20pm.

I forgot to mention that the other day I stopped at Redbrick Books but it was closed. I parked in McDonald's and noticed a door open nearby to a factory called Universal Tool. I peeked inside and it is a very messy machine shop with maybe a dozen or so workers. The mail arrived on time today, it seems strange that I still have heard nothing from Helen or David. My Harvard Alumni Directory arrived, and I also received notification that Marjorie Russell-Ames has died at the age of 76. She owned the cottage in Maine that my parents rented for a couple of summers. I called to tell Mrs. Staniski and she said she last ran into Marjorie many years ago when she was up in Maine visiting the Smith's. I then called the always friendly J.M. Pearsall and told him that I mailed him my 1992 article critical of the Quadrangle from Collection Building Magazine and he joked that he would send it to David Starr. I replied that I sent one to Starr years ago, but he claimed he never received it.

Chelsea Sobel made a good debut as as reporter on TV22 this evening. Is she related to Sobel the self-promoter? Eamon called and discussed how his father's first wife died in childbirth but left behind some money that was divided among the family. The one child by the marriage, William Sullivan, was a boiler tender in World War II but was never heard from again. There were indications that he lived in Boston and New York and may have drank himself to death. Eamon also confessed to me that he really isn't very sorry that Righty Keough lost to Chris Asselin. He said it helped that Asselin is French (as was Dave Vigneault) and Asselin went door to door working very hard to win. Eamon said he heard that Asselin is married to a nubile Puerto Rican.

Eamon thinks that Righty may have borrowed a lot of money and is now stuck with a lot of bills to pay. Bill Christofori, who is the money man for Sheriff Ashe, was also the money man for Keough and when Eamon spoke to him last week Christofori admitted that Righty was in trouble. Keough is a Fairfield University graduate. He wasn't in the state legislature long enough to get a pension, but Righty may be able to lump the time with other government jobs he's held. Eamon said his own service to Springfield was less than four years, but he was able to combine it with his time with the Department of Education because "it's all the same system."

September 21, 2000

Overcast, 72 degrees at 8am.

Today is Massachusetts Day at the Big E. In Chapter One of my Introduction to Edwards, I said I have often gotten my best ideas at night. It looks like a cycle of inflation has begun with oil prices up and electricity going up and it seems like everybody is raising their prices. Dr. David Chadbourne, Dr. Leonard Shaker and Dr. Donald Sonn work for the Baystate Medical Center.

I have over 15,000 antiquarian books. Unsatisfactory condition describes my 2-volume Harvard Alumni Directory that arrived yesterday, but since it is Harvard, I wrote them a letter forgiving them. The mail today finally brought a letter from the Day Funeral Home in Randall, Vermont saying that the urn containing Mother's ashes was buried in the family vault at 1:30pm on September 7th. They included three photographs, two of the urn and the front of the stone. I could barely make out Floppy and Ambrose on the stone. I have sent a thank you note and I'm still wondering when I'll hear from Helen and David. I also got letters from Turin of CityBlock and Carellas.

Heard nothing from the Lyndale Garage. I called Cat's Paw and Claudia said that Vince goes to Baystate next Wednesday for his operation. A three inch long dragonfly came buzzing into the house at 2:43pm, don't know what happened to it. This was a quiet day, mostly spent at home. I had bacon, eggs and Wheaties for breakfast, then I walked the the Boston Herald down to the Penniman's. I haven't seen Mr. Penniman around for ages I doubt he is still at home. Next I went to Louis & Clark, where I found a Boston Red Sox baseball cap in fairly new but faded condition in the trash can in front. The label says it was made in Bangladesh. I put out the mail to poetry.com, Belle-Rita, Tuesday Morning Music Club, the Harvard Alumni Directory and a letter I wrote to Jerry Falwell telling him I think he's a bigot. My name and address were clearly written on it.

Tom Vannah from the Valley Advocate called from 247-5182. This is the first time Vannah has called here from that number since September 10, 1999. Vannah mentioned how he wrote recently that David Starr is married to a Newhouse, but Starr himself has written Vannah saying it isn't so. Vannah wondered if I could help clear it up. I said I would do what I can, then looked up Starr's vita in Who's Who. I called back and told Tom that Giffen is Peggy Starr's maiden name. Tom was very polite and even obsequious. I could hear his voice fine and used the call as an occasion to express condolences for the death of their publisher Kathy Nylic. I also asked Vannah if he wanted me to nominate him for Who's Who and he said sure, somewhat surprised.

The big story in the paper today is that the Grand Jury did not return any indictments against the cops suspended by Chief Meara for rape. The officers were represented by Kevin Coyle. The Police Commission still fired them for what Meara called "conduct unbecoming which tarnished the whole police force." Eamon called and told me he called the Union-News today and told them about an incident involving the police. It seems two police officers were beaten up and hit with a brick and one ended up in the hospital with a concussion. The three blacks involved were arrested, but nothing has appeared in the media. The reporter asked who are you and Eamon replied, "What does it matter? These are the facts."

September 22, 2000

Lovely, mild day. Astronomical Autumn begins at 1:57pm.

The advancement of learning is my goal. Professionalism is the standard, and nothing less will do.

Today is New Hampshire Day at the Eastern States Exposition. Tomorrow is Vermont Day. Governor Rowland of Connecticut and Celluci of Massachusetts were shown on television promoting relations between Hartford and Springfield. Fleet Bank should hire me as a consultant for making the commercial suggestion that they should put the date on each and every page of a financial statement. Homer Street School is located at 43 Homer Street in Springfield. Vibrations at the Eastfield Mall does not allow the return or exchange of body jewelry. I'd like to know what's behind Peter Picknelly's fondness for the name Monarch.

A dead bird in Springfield has been found carrying the West Nile virus. Robert T. Crowley and Paul A. Penna work for Downey, Sweeney, Fitzgerald and Co. on Hampden Street in Springfield. Back in 1986, when my Father died, their Mr. Sadowski ably handled the Federal and State Estate Tax returns. Ordinarily we figured our own taxes, but for Father's death we felt we should have an accountant. I also recall that the Costello Paint Shop offered the service of painting names on glass. It was stylish in the 1980's to weed library collections to make way for computers, but alas, the public spirited citizens who helped were generally strong on muscles but weak on learning.

I walked down the street with a nice bag of magazines for the Cohn's, but Mrs. Cohn was dozing in her chair at the kitchen table so I quietly hung them on the door knob. Matt's Landscaping left flyers at every house on the street. Today I went to the Armenian Apostolic tag sale, which was gigantic. But no real bargains, although I did buy an antique plated child's cup for $6. I was the first to arrive at 8:30am, but when I left there were so many cars in the lot that I had trouble getting out. The Koziel kid was there, but nobody else I knew. On the way home I stopped at Angelo's and bought some nice 99 cent peaches.

Next I went to Louis & Clark and mailed an envelope to Tom Vannah with David Starr's Who's Who vita in it and a friendly note suggesting they set up a basic filing system with folders of info related to prominent figures. I promised to get in touch with them again once they move into their new offices. When I was in Louis & Clark, a large black man wearing a white cap and heavy, masculine sandals told me, "Your hairstyle looks sharp."

Dined this evening on Swanson Fish and Chips with musk mellon. A big pile of junk mail came today, but nothing first class. People are not rushing to answer my memos. TV22 is reporting that New England Fidelity has been taken over by state regulators. This certainly is not good news for Tommy Burton at Hampden Savings Bank, who just a year ago was pumping up his banks relationship with New England Fidelity. Burton has had quite a few black eyes this year.

I called the Lyndale Garage and was told by Bobby that he got the part and it will take just a few minutes to install the light and put the sticker on. Called Aunt Maria to tell Shirley Huang to tell my Aunt that Mother was buried, but got Bonnie who said Huang was in the backyard talking to Shirley Lucia. Our conversation had many pauses of dead air. She doesn't know if Aunt Maria got the pictures I sent. She said Aunt Maria is "just fine." She asked where Mother was buried and I told her in the Miller lot in Fairview. I also mentioned that Mother and Aunt Maria had always talked of burying Aunt Maria in the Wilson lot. I tried to chat with Eamon today, but he said he couldn't talk because Charlie Ryan was expected to call.

September 23, 2000

Out to the Acres Newsstand at 7:30am for the Union-News and on page A-7 Tommy Burton is getting just the kind of publicity he does not like. Hampden Bank is headed down the drain. Today I went to the tag sale at Epiphany Church. I parked behind the old Heritage/Fleet. The burned hardware store has been razed down to the cement slab foundation. There is a new front going on the Acres Dunkin' Donuts. The tag sale was disappointing, but I did get a nice bell for $1.50. Books were a dollar but I bought none.

I ran into the fundamentalist bookseller guy and he said he hasn't been selling much lately but business always picks up around Christmas time. I asked if he's seen any of the Johnsons and he said no, then he asked whether they have rented their store dowmtown. I told him he must not have been downtown lately because the answer is no. A woman told me that Peter Picknelly had been there earlier signing copies of his book Driving Vision about the creation of Peter Pan Bus Lines. I wonder if Fran Gagnon helped him write it.

Then to the Bank of Western Mass to withdraw $50. From there I put out the mail at the Eastfield Mall post office, including a letter I mailed to David Starr:

My Dear Mr. Starr,

I have belonged to the Tuesday Morning Music Club for so many years I can't count them, but though you are conspicuous lover of music, I have never seen you at one of their programs. Frankly, some are a lot better than others. Enclosed find two tickets and a copy of this year's program. I hope you will come, and if you do I promise not to bother you. If you can't make it, feel free to give the tickets to someone else. And of course, you understand that this is simply a gracious gesture to a serious music lover and in no way signals a change in my attitude towards your paper. I call it professionalism: being friendly with someone I'm not always friendly with. Please come soon - or send the Mrs. if you can't make it - but whoever comes I hope that you/they have a good time.

I doubt I will receive even the courtesy of a reply. I had a Quarterpounder with fries at the mall McDonald's, overall the place was pretty quiet today. I then walked across the street to the Fleet branch and was told that construction of the new vaults are underway. Walking back across Boston Road, I ran into Mario Anzalotti and we greeted each other warmly. He said nothing about the elections, but we decided to cross the road together as there was quite a bit of traffic. While in the Acres, I happened upon the new Sabis School and drove around it. It's on an immense chunk of land, two stories in yellow brick with a large playing field.

When I got back, I walked the Boston Herald down to the Penniman's. It seems I never see either one of them these days. The mail today brought newspaper clippings from Nader the Hatter, as well as nice letters from T. Regina and Gutowski. Last spring, I corrected all the errors in the WNEC Campus Ministry brouchure and got no thank you. Now I see they have a new brochure out with all the errors corrected, but they didn't even even send me a copy. I happened to get one by chance when I was on campus briefly the other day.

Tonight I called Eamon and he told me he had just spoken to Walter Sullivan, who is in charge of shipping at Absorbine Jr. and is close to Tyler Young. He told Eamon that the new plant in East Longmeadow is coming along, but the deal to sell their downtown plant fell through because the soil underneath is heavily polluted. Eamon says who's to say that the Youngs didn't do any dumping of their own? Walter Sullivan told Eamon, "I think the Mafia guys are going to wind up buying it as well as the Exeter Block and make it into a parking lot." I told Eamon I wish they could have saved the Exeter.

September 24, 2000

Gas is $1.53 at the Watershops Pond Dairy Mart.

ABC News says there has been up to fifteen inches of snow in parts of Wyoming and Colorado. They also had a story about a Wayne Miller of Chicago who took some of the first photos after the bombing of Hiroshima. Northampton Mayor M. Clare Higgins rocked out in leather pants and shades as Joey Ramone at Transperformance X: Look Punk at Look Park. Backing the Mayor on vocals was City Councilor William H. Dwight whose banter and body piercing - a huge safety pin through his head - amused the crowd.

Noon on TV22 they didn't run the stock numbers. WFCR says the prices at their Final Vinyl sale will be $2 for records and $4 for compact discs. Maryann Reardon works for Fleet Bank. Jack Hess once sold Cat's Paw 5,000 postcards at a dollar apiece. I bought most of them and currently have 80,000 cards from all over. I recently bought a card of the tree shaded lane up to Mountainview House in Whitefield, N.H. which I've never seen before.

Today was the Open House down to Reeds Landing and they had a tent set up in the Duggan parking lot. There were maybe twenty cars in the lot. At Louis & Clark I got two portions of the Sunday paper out of the trash. I really gave Trinity Church the works this morning with my appearance. A conspicuous gay presence in the Methodist Church is needed to straighten, I mean kink them out. It started sprinkling on the way to the church. When I arrived, Mark Goad ran into me in the hallway and thanked me for the pictures. He said his wife is down South. Goad's sermon was on Wisdom, so I'll loan him Gutterman's. The church was well filled. It was raining on the way home, and I spotted Tom Burton coming out of the driveway at WNEC when I came by at 11:50am.

I take a vitamin pill and an aspirin occasionally, but not everyday. Tonight I dined on microwaved potatoes, the last of the succotash and two hotdogs. While Mother was dying, a lot of things got let go and I've finally finished filing them. Nader the Hatter does not like to leave a paper trail or receive any publicity. When he writes to me he does so on old newsprint, thinking it will not be saved. Alas, he does not know the lengths I go to preserve records. At one time the Quad wanted to honor the Hatter for all the work he did as a volunteer at the library, but he said no way. I tried to get him to publicize his hat collection, but nothing doing.

September 26, 2000

Sunny and 57 degrees at 7:30am.

Despite stuffing the ballot box, S. Milosovic has been forced into a run-off. If he loses he can be extradited for war crimes. Good. I agree that Joe Lieberman should not be running for Senate and Vice President at the same time, otherwise, I like him. WFCR said this morning, "Shoppers care less about discounts and more about their own time." Tell that to Hampden Bank. Poetry.com is going ahead with the publication of my poem Cocksuckers First Love Sonnet.

Smith & Wesson was in the news for making a new kind of blinking light for police cruisers. Their spokesman said on TV22 that they are a "public safety manufacturing company" with a lot of non-gun products and they are moving into other areas "where we can enhance the strength of our brand." Diane M. Dunkerly is the Chairman of The Springfield Boys and Girls Club. State Insurance Commissioner Linda Ruthardt has been appointed receiver for New England Fidelity Insurance. The Wilbraham Public Library has a reading of bedtime stories at 6pm Mondays.

I worked on my Pulitzer Prize nomination for the Valley Advocate today. The mail brought a birthday card for me from Burger King, whose kid's club I joined. Newsweek is still coming although my subscription expired on August 13th. U.S. New and World Report keeps sending me advertising. I have done very few jigsaw puzzles since Mother died. I just don't have the enthusiasm for them now that we can't do them together anymore. But last night I did one with 250 pieces of a vine covered cottage by a river.

Left at 8:30am. Took the car to Bobby at Lyndale Garage on Warehouse Street and had the light done in a few minutes. The price came ten bucks under the estimate at $115.75, which I put on my Visa card. Bobby is a very friendly fellow. They have nice letters from people stuck on their bulletin board, including a letter from a fellow apologizing for trying to break into the place. There was an East Longmeadow police car there (Ford LTD). Then I waited around to get my car inspected but they said they couldn't inspect it without a Mass plate on the front end and told me my tires are under inflated.

So I drove over to to Trinity to leave the Wisdom book for Rev. Goad with the lady in the inner office. Then to Welker's who said I could have all the air I wanted for free, so I set it for 32 pounds and waited for the bell to stop ringing. Then out to Balise in Wilbraham and the parts guy Michael Pelletier took me right on time and screwed on the front plates.

When I got back to Lyndale Garage there was a line with me at number five. They are Inspection Station #1695. The lady who does the work is chubby, long-haired, agile, jovial and she told me she is a registered nurse. She worked as a nurse for 18 years and still has her license, but likes garage work better, even in the winter with the front and back doors open. She said she can't stand heat but can handle cold. When they finally got to me she drove the car in and punched all the buttons on the machine without inspecting much and I was out in 10 minutes. Coming home on Boston Road, a woman in a black jeep heaved her cigarette butt out the window and I honked.

Dined tonight on a melon and two cheese sandwiches. Mrs. Peter Meltzer called to remind me of the Tuesday Morning Music Club meeting next Tuesday. We had a nice chat and she told me she is 82. About 5pm I called Mary Alice Stusick to tell her about the double harp in the Red Baron sale. She was very gracious, though seemed a tad slow about getting the information down. She told me she had been to some harp convention where a Chinese woman had a double harp. Next I called Eamon and told him about finding Larry McDermott's snotty letter of September 13, 1992. Eamon said he discovered that what in our city is called the Springfield-Hartford Partnership is called in Connecticut the Hartford-Springfield Partnership.

September 27, 2000

An article in the The Economist says that the smartest students are the least likely to go into teaching. Wesley Village is in Shelton, Connecticut. Bells are excellent objects to collect and they often sell for less than they should. When I was at Savers the other day, the young girl at the checkout said about my purple mohawk, "I like your hair." I replied, "I got sick of being like everybody else." She said, "That's the way to be."

The Union-News has a story on b7 about the Mullins Center in Amherst being this year's venue for the Fifth Annual J.Crew Warehouse Sale from now until Saturday. What the story doesn't tell is that the earliest of those sales was in an abandoned space in the Springdale Mall. Once again, a commercial event has abandoned Springfield. UMass is probably a much better place for it, but it is interesting how the Mullins Center is systematically stealing events that used to occur in Springfield. The paper also says P. Picknelly has been granted an extension to submit his plans to renovate the old Union Station. Will he ante up in time before somebody else is given a chance to develop it?

TV40 had a story saying that one fourth of the teachers teaching math and science in the Springfield schools lack even a college minor in the field they are teaching. Carol Rushby was in the paper complaining about all the late night noise in the Entertainment District. She especially complained about the Mars Club by Stearns Square. The owner of the Mars Club says he paid a lot for his license and needs noise and excitement to attract business.

There seemed to be a lot of smoke coming out of my exhaust pipe this morning, but it soon stopped and I saw no more of it for the rest of the day. The oil and anti-freeze were both checked a few days ago, so everything should be fine. I went downtown and parked in the Northgate Plaza parking lot because it's free. I saw Minna, the wife of the liquor store owner, and I asked her if the closing of the Union Market has affected business. She said "it hasn't had much impact at all" and I wished her well.

I crossed over to the Springfield Newspapers to leave a letter for Larry McDermott and read today's paper from their counter copy. A woman came up and asked if I wanted to buy a copy of the paper, so I said, "I'm reading the counter copy, that's alright, isn't it?" She reluctantly replied yes. Then over to the Main Post Office, where I sent some of my Pulitzer material to Tom Vannah. The PARAMOUNT sign has been taken down and workers are putting an imitation brick sidewalk under the marquis. The northern end of Main below the Arch is all dug up, it's ridiculous how they pave streets and then dig them up again. I stopped at the Chamber of Commerce and then dropped off reading material for Charlie Ryan.

I stopped at Edwards Books and the boss lady Janet told me that she asked Peter Picknelly if he wanted to do a book signing event at her store. He said yes but nothing was ever arranged. She also told me that the autographed copies of Barry Moser's Bible book that she used to sell are now selling for $1,500 on the internet. I dropped off a note at Marshall Moriarty's law office and it's too bad he has those fancy leather sofas but his bookcases sag.

Over at Hampden Bank they still have a sign reading, "Hampden Insurance Agency represents the products of New England Fidelity." There should be strict banking and insurance laws which make it improper to advertise products after they are no longer available. So once again, Hampden doesn't care if they mislead their customers about what they have to offer. That sign should have come down the minute they found out that New England Fidelity had gone under.

I left some material for Hurwitz and then to City Hall to leave something for Mayor Albano. I brought some stuff to Atty. Berman and we had a nice chat. He showed me some of his scale collection, including one designed to hold eggs and another with vials for weighing milk. I told Berman that I always thought bankruptcy law was boring, but he said he finds it gratifying to help people out of a financial mess and he feels he performs a real service to the community. Next, over to State and found the new Bar Advocacy Office. I went into 55 State and the entire lobby has Ciplon Pastel Green tiles, which is a Vermont marble.

Ordinarily, on my way back to the car I would have stopped for a baloney grinder, but Subway no longer has the cheap ones. And did I mention that McDonald's now rations how much condiments you get with each order? If you want more you have to pay. Photocopies are also going up everywhere from five to seven cents each. We are in an inflationary period, but nobody dares to say it.

I went to Kentucky Fried Chicken and paid $7.99 for ten legs and thighs. As I arrived home, the mailman was just turning around in Jeffrey from Ballard as I came around the block around 11:10am. I got a nice note from Maureen Vincent Beck, but no communication from all the other people who owe me mail. Mrs. Staniski called and said she hurt her ankle going down the cellar stairs but it feels alright now. I called the Valley Advocate to determine when they're moving and the receptionist told me the week of the 9th of October. I told her they should print a picture of the old mill next week. She said she doesn't like that they're moving because she loves the place they are now. She also told me she has worked for the Advocate for 13 years.

September 28, 2000

Medical charities are a racket designed to appeal to sentimental jerks. Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau of Canada has died at 80 of prostate cancer. The Publick House Historic Inn in Sturbridge is holding its Oktoberfest Beer Dinner on October 13th. Friendly's stock is down to 3.62, which may be an all time low. The Springfield Cultural Council consists of twelve citizens and artists appointed by the Mayor of Springfield. The TV show The Survivor features Richard Hatch, who is queer but a tough guy, not a sissypansy.

In June 1973, Mother found a wallet with $36 dollars in it of Canadian money. Today I was behind a white panel truck with the Basketball Hall of Fame logo on the back and the Springfield Public Schools listed below it as "Teammates in Education." They also have basketball banners up downtown, sort of ugly I think, too many balls in a field of sickish blue-green. Not enough style to them. The mail today brought copies of Scientific American, U.S. News and World Report and The Economist, which has an article on military weapons of the future that I will eventually give to Lucius.

WFCR played a selection by Copeland which I recall playing with Richard S. Holevinia at Buckingham years ago. Music stays with you even more than literature. My main achievement today was mowing the lawn. While I was mowing, Lucius' next door neighbor in the sporty little car waved to me, so I must still be in good graces down there. I saw a chipmunk scampering into the bridal wreath hedge. I drove out around 2pm, made copies, put out the mail, got veggies at Angelo's, two pies and a white lemon cake at Freihoffer's and withdrew $50 from Bank of Western Mass. I see the Boston Road business group has posters up asking for contributions for the holiday lights they intend to put up.

I dined tonight on chicken and Rice-a-Roni Angel Hair Pasta, one of my favorite dishes. Spoke to Eamon, who told me I should take a picture of the sign at Hampden Bank still advertising New England Fidelity. His latest phone editorial reminds people of all the businesses like L.L. Bean that Mayor Albano once claimed were coming to Springfield but never did. We hung up because it was time to watch the news. After the news, I called Atty. Berman's office and left with his receptionist the address of the Lawbook Exchange and Meyer Boswell Books. Then I called Janet at Edwards Books and gave her the address of Oak Knoll. Interestingly, she immediately recognized my voice. What is it about my voice that everyone recognizes?

The new Valley Advocate is out with David Starr's letter:

I am amused that the Advocate on September 14 suggested that I have a lifetime tenure as President of the Springfield Newspapers because I married into the Newhouse family, which owns the Union-News and Sunday Republican ("26 Pols You Should Know"). Wrong on two counts: I don't have lifetime tenure, and I didn't marry into the Newhouse family.

I married Peggy, my college sweetheart, because she was pretty, perky and smarter than I am. Her mother and father were florists, which explains her skill as a gardener and a flower arranger. But even if she's not a newspaper owning Newhouse, she recognizes factual errors in a newspaper when she sees them.

David Starr
President, Springfield Newspapers.

Tom Vannah replied:

Thank you, Mr. Starr, for this letter - your first ever response to our reporting and countless requests for information and comment from you over the years. We're sorry for our error, and acknowledge that your correction now leaves us without any way to explain your remarkable run at the Springfield Newspapers.

Tom wasn't as polite in his response to Starr as I would hope, but Vannah has his reasons for treating Starr as he does.

September 29, 2000

Sunny, beautiful fall day, 47 degrees at 10:30am.

Boredom is the number one problem in the world.

Nightline on ABC featured the Sierra Leone killing photos. There were smiles on the the faces of the killers. Killing is fun! Teachers are going on strike in Philadelphia, watch the locals ape this. In St. Paul, Minnesota they made 101 Snoopy the dog statues to decorate downtown. They will auction them off to create a scholarship in honor of Charles M. Schultz. Starting bid is $12,000 per statue. A conference on tourism is being held in Holyoke.

The flowers are dead except for the mums. The zinnias were a real disappointment this year, but the marigolds did fine. I had three tomato plants from which I got seven tomatoes. The Union-News Extra flyer arrived this morning with a circular from the A&P Super Food Mart. Had Wheaties and orange juice for breakfast. I spent the morning writing letters, including one I sent to WNEC's Caprio at his home. I listened to Howie Carr this afternoon as he attacked the state's college presidents as political hacks.

I was going to drive downtown to photograph the Hampden Bank sign as Eamon suggested, but decided instead to go to Louis & Clark and put out the mail. I noticed that a missing cat poster has appeared on the corner of Birchland. The mail today brought a short and sweet letter from Marshall Moriarty thanking me for the help I've been giving to his campaign. Mrs. Staniski called and said she didn't bring her plants in on time and they got nipped by the frost. I told her she should have asked me to bring them in. I also told her she could make driving easier for herself by always backing into a parking spot so she can just drive out. She liked that idea.

TV40 interviewed some girls from Connecticut at the Big E who were asked by Tom Bevacqua to rate the fair from 1 to 10. They said "12" instantly. The news also had a public health person saying that free pneumonia shots will be offered to "persons over 50" at the end of October. It will be a labor bonanza for nurses. The news also reported that 700 middle and high school students are skipping school each day and over a thousand students enrolled late for the start of the school year.

The word is that Friendly's will have a shop in the food court of the new Basketball Hall of Fame, but will Friendly's even exist by then? Eamon called and said he is writing a letter of reply to David Starr's letter in the Valley Advocate. I suggested that his letter work in the titles of the books that have been written criticizing the Newhouse media empire.

September 30, 2000

Sunny, clear and 45 degrees at 8am.

Jeffrey D. Marshall is Curator of Manuscripts for the University of Vermont. Shannon Richard is Director of Marketing for Evergreen Woods in North Branford, Connecticut. Ray Stone Pontiac Buick was in Westfield in 1976.

I drove out shortly after nine to a tag sale at 116 Birchland, a painted, white brick house on the intersection of Ballard. It was a small sale with ladies presiding over several tables. I saw Mr. Turner there but didn't speak because I don't really know him although I hope to. I have never interviewed him about the history of the street and I should because he is getting on in years. Lucius was there, and said he is headed down to Florida, he doesn't know for how long. He has a daughter who is a hospital administrator there. She has been living in Florida for 15 years but no longer likes it and is moving soon to Hanover, New Hampshire.

I was very cheerfully greeted by Lillian Habin of South Branch Parkway, who was selling large picture frames she suggested I might put my posters in. At first I stared in wonderment at her, then recognized her as a former Johnson's Bookstore employee, but couldn't quite place her. She said she worked in Business Supplies but sometimes worked in the Gift Department. We chatted about the loss of Johnson's, and we agreed that there is no current bookstore that is as good as Johnson's was. I left without buying anything but promised to return shortly to give her a copy of the Johnson's Bookstore Funeral poem. I went home and when I returned I read segments of the poem aloud for her and gave her an inscribed copy. She expressed genuine thanks for it and put it in her car so it wouldn't get lost.

From there I drove over towards Eamon's way to attend the tag sale for the Homeless Cat Project at 68 Drexel Street off Carew. When I arrived I was amazed to find an enormous sale in a two car garage at the back of the lot that was filled to the roof with stuff. People were passing out flyers about homeless cats and opposing greyhound racing. I bought a milk crate to help in sorting out Mother's books. Then down on Carew itself there was a small clothing tag sale that had a doll size Harley uniform for $8. I bought if for my beloved Sweet Pea, who now has his own leather jacket and pants. As I passed Brunton Triangle there were 19 men (no women) waving Thank You signs for C. Asselin. It should be noted that Asselin didn't just beat Rep. Keough, he beat him by a wide margin. As Eamon suggested, nothing beats going door to door and meeting people as Asselin did.

Finally, I drove downtown and parked at Stearns Square where the Georgian Cafeteria used to be, now just another parking lot though admittedly with a pretty iron fence around it. Lots of remodeling going on at the new nightclubs, they look real nice. On the corner is a place called Cherry Spirits and I took their advertising flyer for proofreading. The back of the Mardi Gras is getting a tasteful facelift with an elaborate green and white awning describing themselves as "A Gentleman's Club." Hurumph. On Chestnut Street a black run barber shop facing the Tarbell-Watters building had several customers. I went in and asked the owner if I could have the Harambee 2000 poster in his window and he agreed. The Hot Club is right on Stearns Square, but there are so many other clubs around there it is hard to remember their names. In the window of Feinstein Leather is a sign saying they moved September 26th to Mill Street.

My principle objective today was to photograph the obsolete signs promoting the defunct New England Fidelity still on display in the Hampden Savings Bank main office window. This I did mid-morning after having first photographed the digitized date on the Monarch/Tower Square overpass for notarization purposes. I did this because if the September 30th date comes first on the film, then obviously the pictures of the obsolete sign in the Hampden Bank window were made later and Tom Burton can't say the sign was not up when I said it was. I took several pictures, and while there was a serious reflection problem with the window, I trust that enough came out to establish my claim. On the way home, I saw Minister Y. Muhammad in front of his temple located in the old First National. The bushes of Wesley Church are growing to block the old black power mural on their side. That isn't nice.

I received a thank you note today from Rev. Edwin Atlee Garrett. Eamon called tonight and said David Starr's letter to the Valley Advocate represents an unusual opportunity to launch a major attack on Starr. He said that along with his own signed letter to the paper he is going to send several fake letters using false names. He urged me to do the same and I told him I would send one using Mother's maiden name. As soon as Eamon hung up I immediately did so and will mail it tomorrow.

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