7/8/15

August 2000

August 1, 2000

Keith Martin and Jeff Haspin teach computer courses at Whalley Computer Associates in Southwick. The Petzold house at 101 Birchland has a dumpster outside where the old lady's belongings are being unceremoniously dumped. Nothing is being saved, but I'll bet there are things that should be. There was a tannish jeep like vehicle over to Hansen's yesterday, maybe Susan's?

Out at 9am and there was a buzz saw going over at Kelly's. Brian Simpson in shorts was making a very handsome workbench. He looks like a good, friendly, regular fellow who is a good catch for Kelly. I bought the morning paper telling about how the legislature did not approve the money to upgrade the Springfield Civic Center. Then I dropped off some material for Mrs. Staniski. I showed her the leaf of my diary (December 7, 1996) with the picture of her cookie in it. I told her to tell her grandchildren about my diary because when I'm gone they'll want to read it because it has stuff in it about their family. She then said she wanted my advice about something. Noonan is her oil supplier. They put a new valve on her oil tank and it leaks worse than ever. They say she needs a new oil tank for $350 and over $400 for the installation, which comes to about $750. They said there may be additional costs as well. I told her she should get estimates from Punderson and Grimaldi and then decide.

Next, I drove over to Eamon's house. He returned my books and gave me a big bag of stuff he had saved for me, including a 1941 San Quentin guard badge. It is brassy and good looking. He said he just finished reading the Cabinet of Irish Literature books and found them "very enlightening indeed." Eamon says his brother in law is going to work on fixing his telephone. From there I picked up my books on John Wesley at the post office, a lovely set of books almost worth waiting for. I've got to stop buying books as I now own about everything I want.

After that, I got on the highway and drove up to Odyssey Books in South Hadley. I ended up buying two volumes in one of William Cullen Bryant's Forest Hymn and In the Woods for $40. Although published in 1824, the beautiful leather binding is in good shape. Odyssey has four bookcases on the second floor dedicated to other dealers, one of which is the former proprietor of The Globe in Northampton. One of the books they had was a Springfield City Library discard of the poems of A. Conan Doyle for $35. The Big Y in South Hadley has a sign up saying they're hiring. I stopped there to use the toilet and a person outside said it's only a year old, so basically a new store. Inside they have a Woronoco Bank and cleaner toilets than the ones at Big Y on Boston Road.

While I was out, someone called from Mars Auto Sales in Chicopee. Tonight I listened to the Republican Convention. There was too much militaristic patriotism, John McCain is maybe too good a soldier. Longmeadow lawyer Bruce Colton, a McCain delegate, was interviewed by Dan Elias. Condoleeza Rice, the young black woman, was superb. The Republicans are lucky to have her. I like what I see of Bush, but I don't like dynasties, partly because I detest the shabby Kennedy dynasty.

August 2, 2000

Overcast and getting more humid.

The Sons of the Confederacy veterans organization convention starts today. Clear Channel Springfield owns MIX93.1, WHYN560 and WNNZ640. Neil Novik and Joan Grenier own Odyssey Bookshop. W.B. Mason Office Supplies, Furniture and Printing is located in Auburn, Massachusetts. Themistos & Dane is a full service accounting and business advising firm with offices in Springfield at Monarch Place. Telecom Management Services are at 1331 Main Street in Springfield. The Valley Hearing Aid Center was located in the Kimball Towers in 1971. On February 14, 1962, Mother received a white, wool knitted sweater from Aunt Alma Olmstead. I found it recently wrapped in plastic in the attic, carefully labeled and never worn.

I came across a letter to the editor today from Thurston Munson to the Sunday Republican, January 16, 1994. Vince McCorkle of Mercy Hospital was smug on the news over a report that the cost of medical services at Baystate is twice as expensive as in Boston. Bob Robinson the photographer was interviewed and asked whether he feared his cell phone would give him brain cancer. Robinson responded that he is not worried. WFCR said the bacteria in the White River just south of Bethel has been cleared up. They also had a story about how women who were abused as children frequently have anxiety and depression as adults. Mother was very anxious and uptight and enforced her will by tantrums, so maybe abuse was more of a feature of her childhood than she ever admitted.

No water has come in the cellar despite all the rain we've had, my caulking has at least temporarily done the job. The tan jeep was over to the Hansen's this morning, there was a man around 40 unloading it. I drove out around 10:45am and dropped off the Boston Herald at the Penniman's. The garage door was open and the breezeway unlocked, but their car was gone. I then spoke with Mr. Cohn, who was out sitting in the rolling chair with the handle breaks. He said the chair actually belongs to Mrs. Cohn, but she doesn't use it. He confided in me that he now has to wear a girdle to keep his tummy in. He also said the white car in front belongs to his relatives visiting from New York state. We discussed politics, and he expressed concern that the country is becoming too conservative.

From the Cohn's I went down to the Breckwood Shops and put out some mail to Aunt Martha, the Community Foundation and a birthday card to Maureen Beck. I then drove downtown and parked behind the Quadrangle. I walked down the hill and hand delivered my job application to Telleha Lopez at the Community Foundation. I then continued on to Subway for a deli-baloney grinder. They were setting up tents at the farmer's market. From there I crossed the street to attend the anti-capital punishment rally at Court Square.

At noon there were about 80 people present, that's not as many as at the Saco and Vanzetti gathering. The audience was somewhat fluid with people coming and going. I was wearing my collar, orange correctional outfit and lumberjack boots. A good looking radical if I do say so myself. They had a good public address system and I didn't miss a syllable. The first speaker was Mayor Albano, who was followed by Sister Annette McDermott representing the Diocese of Springfield. She declared that "official Catholic teaching no longer considers the death penalty acceptable." She said the Bishop would have been there as well as Msgr. Slezak had they not been on vacation. She was followed by Sister Jane Morrisey, President of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, who quoted John Donne, "Death thou shalt die." The rest of the Sisters of St. Joseph were standing in the audience holding a banner. The camera people from the TV stations left after the nuns spoke.

At this point Steve Root arrived and stayed a long while. Tom Oppenheimer was there at the start but soon left. Rev. Kelly Gallagher from the UCC First Church of Northampton was next. Kelly is young and vivacious and was a little nervous to start, but after she got going she was a good radical kid, declaring that "Capital punishment is a political tool by which we can legally rid ourselves of those who make us uncomfortable." A black man Charles Stokes was next to speak at 12:55pm. He said he spent 13 years in the Massachusetts penal system and said blacks are being imprisoned "at an enormous rate." At that point two cops on horses appeared, the same time as a pig-tailed John Thompson did. Stokes went on to claim that Amherst is named after "the man who invented biological warfare." I shouted, "Tell that to the Society of Colonial Wars!"

Darnell Williams, a black man wearing a gold tie, spoke next. He strikes me as sort of pompous and dull and he is definitely not a radical. It was like he was trying to act like a respectable white man instead of a black. He also mispronounced several words. Williams was followed by Bill Newman, a young lawyer in a tan suit who is Director of the local ACLU. He talked about the Gilbert case and said, "The death penalty appeals to the worst part of us." Ken Dunn spoke briefly and was followed by Joanne Cumberfield talking about the Interfaith Prison Pilgrimage. Linda Thompson then arrived and asked me if I wanted to speak and I said no.

While Caron's aide Leon Gaumond was speaking, I spotted Picknelly's political consultant Anthony Cignoli pausing briefly to listen and then he left. At that point Jarrold Thompson from the Ralph Nader for President campaign came up to me and I told him he could put a sign on my lawn. Also speaking was Norman Townsend, who spent 18 years on death row, followed by a woman whose brother was murdered in front of the SIS at the Fairfield Mall in 1971. Walt Everett, a white bearded Reverend from Connecticut said, "Forgiveness has everything to do about feeling good about ourselves." Rep. Benjamin Swan spoke and promised, "I will never vote for the death penalty." He said, "We have Democrats here and maybe even a few Republicans"( I cheered). Swan was followed by libertarian Alan Wilcox, who called for an end to the War on Drugs, which caused myself and John Thompson to cheer and clap.

A chubby Michael Lindberg from ARISE delivered a good speech which called Governors Cellucci and Bush demagogues, declaring that "any politician for the death penalty is a liar and a crook." A real cute little black kid in a purple top, Nancy Gallman, delivered the shortest speech by simply standing up and saying, "I don't believe in God but I do believe in the truth." Later I praised her by telling her, "Brevity is the soul of wisdom." Leslie Haynes, short, plump and obviously sincere, spoke with a nasal voice and a snotty attitude so I left at 1:40pm, sorry to miss John Thompson. As I headed back, a band was playing at City Block and about 75 people were listening. Not many considering that the band was quite good. There I saw white haired Carlo Marchetti, of whom little has been heard lately. I remember him hissing at me in the alleyway behind Johnson's Bookstore once.

J. Oczkowski called looking for Storrowtown and said she was sorry. Somebody else called and I answered professionally, but they were silent yet stayed on the line. Finally, I hung up. Cooked up some native corn from Angelo's, but it was only so-so. Eamon called, and he claims that poker and blackjack are games at which the player's intelligence can make a difference. We talked about Commerce becoming an International Baccalaureate Program school. Art Gingras told Eamon that Commerce only has a couple of teachers capable of handling such students. Eamon recalled how several years ago he gave Gingras a third grade reading book and suggested that he have his students read from it. Gingras reported back that a lot of the kids couldn't handle the reading material.

August 3, 2000

Hot and humid, 76 degrees at 9am.

From October 21 to November 10th the Interface Prison Pilgrimage will walk to the major prisons in Massachusetts to vigil, pray and call for a more humane response to crime than incarceration. The local contact is Sister Clare from the Peace Pagoda in Leverett. Father's official retirement date from Monarch after 42 years was November 30, 1971. Retirement was mandatory, but Father didn't want to stop working so he applied at Mass Mutual but was turned down.

Friendly's stock is down to 4.11. There is a large community garden on Central Street, fenced, on the left as you come up from the city. Bob Turin of City Block was on TV40 saying they have had record crowds even though they had to cancel two concerts because of rain. Turin was interviewed by female reporter Alison Maloni. Frosted Wheaties has a free offer of Sports Illustrated for Kids, so I joined in the name of Ambrose Miller, born April 2, 1986.

I am currently doing some retrospective reading in this diary. The lilies by the backdoor are coming out. The Hansen house had a little white shaded light in the window last night. I called Byron's in the Square and Judy answered and will have a Director call back to discuss the sealing of Mother's urn. I then called Barnes & Noble and asked if they had any titles listed under J. Wesley Miller and they said they could find no books under that name. Next I called Judith at the Union-News and she said they would send me their latest copy of the Belden Report. I also called the Five College Women's Research Center at 538-2275 but no one answered.

I then called Aunt Maria's and the phone rang eight times before cousin Shirley answered. She was friendly, but not forthcoming with information, listening politely but that's all. I asked her if they ever go out and she said they just got back with some "take-out scallops, your Aunt loves scallops." I said yes, but she especially likes lobster and I reminded her that lobster is now in season. She said they tried to get lobster rolls at Stop&Shop but they didn't have any. She also told me that Bonnie's poison ivy has cleared up. I told her that I hoped my next book would be about Vermont feminist Mary Waller. One thing she did say was that she has found a clipping about Sharon Hall being in the top 10% of her class in 1960. I told her that I think I already have that clipping in my files. I also told her I'm gay, to which she responded with silence and then changed the subject.

The Springfield Newspapers often exaggerate crowd numbers, like the number they said attended Gordon Oakes' job speech, the number that attended the final mass at St. Francis and the time that Bill Zajak failed to get the correct number of booths at the Big E. Bill Doughty is the security guy at WNEC who delayed me on April 4, 1998, the day after I made an anonymous phone call to President Caprio. I don't like dynasties. I remember when old "read my lips" Bush was running and his wife Barbara behaved waspish and politically incorrect. She was awful. Young George (a much rougher gem than his brother in Florida) appears to be a phony all cleaned up by media consultants.

Dined this evening on Stouffer's Swedish Meatballs and canned beets. Eamon called and said he is delighted with his pop-up calendars from Graphix. He told me about one Stephen Burke, a fireman and marine, who he said told him that firefighters have a lot of time to read and make food and that some of the firefighters are wonderful cooks. Burke went to law school in Connecticut and just took his bar exams. Eamon also recalled how Bill Putnam's father had a nice place in Petersham out by Quabbin. He then launched into his typical attacks on the Springfield police, describing them as "burglars in blue who are worse than the mafia."

August 5, 2000

Lovely, mild day, 75 degrees at 12:20pm.

On WFCR Susan Filopoli of the Communications Department at Auburn University, said she thinks Sen. John McCain's address to the Republican Convention was something he was given to read rather that something he prepared himself. Certainly that's what Bush's speech was. Rick Lazio is the Republican Senate candidate running against Hillary Clinton. I can usually get two meals out of a Big Y order of fish and chips.

I was out at 2pm and chatted with the Allards as the street sweeper went by. Mrs. Allard said she thinks the Lynch's were renting. Later, Jozephczyk swept all the dirt the city left behind in the street. That the kind of man Jozephczyk is, a good man! I also dropped off reading material for the Cohn's and Lucius. Coburn was out mowing his lawn and there were two little kids over to Kelly's playing with a white dog. I saw the new neighbor Jonathan M. Salvon out, so I parked next to Nichol's Forest and we chatted. He had a very handsome red business card revealing that he works for architects Kuhn-Riddle in Amherst. Salvon is unmarried and grew up in East Longmeadow. Then I made copies, mailed my complaint to Acorn Books and then went over to Angelo's where I ran into Fred Whitney in the parking lot. He greeted me cheerfully. Next I made a deposit at Ludlow Savings and cashed the Woronoco check.

Elizabeth Lehman of the Five College Women's Studies Research Center, located in the Dickinson House at Mount Holyoke College, returned my phone call today. I told her of my interest in Mary Waller, but she replied that she had never heard of her. I said that Mary Waller was an educator and the author of more than twenty novels and it's a shame that she isn't a household name among woman's studies scholars. Lehman said she will look into it and notify me if they have any material in their files about Waller. I am sending them some of my info.

Senator Brian Lees had his Golden Gathering today with over 100 organizations and businesses participating. Eamon called and noted that he has a clothes dryer but not a dish washer. He also complained that the guy next door to him always parks his jeep in the same spot. Eamon claims that the Mayor's new Consumer Protection Office is just an excuse to create more jobs for political appointees. Suddenly he had to hang up because someone was knocking at his door.

August 6, 2000

75 degrees at 1pm. It starting raining at 4:30pm, just a shower but pouring.

Today, August 6th, is the 55th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima which killed 140,000 people. War is war and that is the way to fight them. The Union-News this morning said the groundbreaking for the new Basketball Hall of Fame will be next July. Been reading past diary entries, which takes a while because I cross index and note loose ends.

Out at 9:45am for an Egg McMuffin at $1.04 from McDonald's. Then I came home at 10:30am and did some gardening, picking a quart of ripe blackberries off the bushes out back. I left again at 11:30am to bring the berries to Mrs. Staniski. I passed Durham Caldwell working on his lawn and slowed down to shout hi and he waved back. Going up Aldrew I passed Lucius and his wife on a walk but they didn't notice me. When I gave Mrs. Staniski the fruit she said that when she was a kid she would pick berries twice as big in the woods and get paid $2 for twenty baskets.

Dined on a pork chop, potato and salad today. I called Lortie Realty and told them that their sign at 1671 Wilbraham Road is covered with bushes and so is invisible to outbound cars. I also asked when they are having an Open House there. Claire connected me to Steve Lortie, and he told me they haven't scheduled an Open House because they are "swamped with business." He told me the price of the property has been reduced to $129,000 from $143,000. I told him I hope he is not upset by my constructive suggestions about his business.

Eamon called and told me that he intends to go down to Hampden Bank tomorrow to close his checking account and empty his safety deposit box. "It's awful the way they do business," he complained. He then described former Mayor Tommy O'Connor as "very smart" but never on time for anything so people secretly called him Tardy Tommy. Eamon says his friend Feinstein the leather dealer is divorced and living with his girlfriend in Enfield. He said his girlfriend used to work for John Lindsey in NYC as a municipal planner and he called her "a very intelligent woman." Feinstein is thinking of moving his leather business to Enfield.

I asked Eamon if as a Columbia graduate he could help the Valley Advocate win a Pulitzer Prize. He said he knows a Lynelle Hancock, a Professor of Journalism down there, whom he once spoke to about Dr. Negroni. She told Eamon that she couldn't believe that Springfield would name Negroni Superintendent of Schools since at the time he was hired there were five different investigations of him underway in NYC. She also said that Negroni received more publicity in the New York media than anyone else who wasn't an elected official. I told Eamon that the only reason we prevailed over the stadium scam was the unique combination of the Powell's CANE, the Advocate's Turner and Vannah, Charlie Ryan, Devine and just plain luck which allowed The People to win for once. It was certainly the Advocate's finest hour and they deserve a Pulitzer for it. Finally Eamon agreed to make some phone calls. He calls all over the country for other things, let's see what he does here.

Eamon said he gave money to Lazio's senate campaign in New York, politically Eamon can be quite generous. Eamon then told me that Tony Ravosa's wife has a brother in Boston who's an architect and that Tony's brother Anello is gay. He then discussed how the wife of Gingras the teacher works for the architect Schenkelberg, who is a close friend of Peter Picknelly. She doesn't like working for him because Schenkelberg is always asking her to run personal errands for him and his wife on top of her regular duties. Eamon then recalled how he once asked Charlie Ryan what Joe Napolitan has ever done for Springfield with his connections all over the world and Ryan just stood there mute, unable to think of a single example.

August 8, 2000

Overcast and humid, 73 degrees at 7:30am.

On this date Richard Nixon resigned the presidency. Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, a critic of the Clinton scandals, has been tapped as Al Gore's running mate. He will be the first Jewish vice-presidential candidate. Lots of forest fires out West. The cost of the Big Dig has risen to $14 billion dollars. The Diocese is forgiving Sacred Heart's million dollar debt. Diane Goncalves is the Administrator at the Ring Health Center on Bicentennial Highway. Stop&Shop's manager George Miller is on vacation this week. Jodi Fearebay lives in Southwick. There was a disturbance downtown by the newspaper and post office where an observer said the manholes popped ten feet into the air and flames licked out of the manholes.

A squirrel is making a nest in the backyard Maple. I also saw a brown rabbit hopping cautiously along the back lawn and then disappeared into Colleen's thick hedge. No cars next door last night or today. Charlene called and said she'll send me 2 free trial issues of Fortune Magazine. Fred Aldrich of Byron's Funeral Home called and was very pleasant. He said he can seal Mother's urn with an epoxy that will make it impossible to reopen once sealed. I replied, "I wouldn't want it any other way." I called Mrs. Staniski and she said she is wilting in the heat and "sitting here reading Agatha Christie is all I can do."

Fred Whitney called to ask if I wanted to work at the polls this November. I said I don't think so and that I don't think I'll make it to the Republican picnic either. I told him to tell Moriarty he can put one of his Governor's Council signs on my lawn. I called Rep. Caron's office and got a courteous Leon G. who said he saw me at the death penalty rally the other day. He further informed me that Jerrold Thompson of the Nader campaign goes to Springfield College and was an intern in Caron's office last year. Leon is always more cordial than Christian at Senator Lees office. Finally, I called Belle-Rita Novak about returning my books but she said she was not finished with them.

My parents bought cars, all Fords, in 1935 (Lizzy) 1949, 1953, 1957, 1966, 1973 and 1985. The 1966 car was Mother's favorite until it was ruined by a repair shop in Ludlow. Before Father died we were always great purchasers of pretty greeting cards. My parents carefully selected each Christmas card and at Christmas time our mantle was festooned with cards, some even hanging from the light over the dining room table. After Father died, we bought fewer cards. Going through Mother's things, I found a bag containing Mother's favorite cards. I have arranged them in a display I call Mother's Gallery of Favorite Cards. I am rereading for the first time the portion of my diary covering when Mother was dying. It is clear that Aunt Maria's mind was getting feeble and confused. Mother was absolutely convinced that Dr. Mullan had been negligent to her needs. Mullan is a mass production doctor, okay for healthy people to come and pay fees, but not for sick people.

There will be a fundraiser June 24th for Bobby Pass, a West Springfield kid who has muscular dystrophy. The Reminder says there will be an Open Mic poetry reading at Odyssey Books on August 15. I guess they liked the results of the first one. Went out at 9:05am to put out a pile of mail at the Breckwood Shops. I saw Mrs. Allard and told her what a nice new neighbor Jonathan S. is. Mr. Power has just installed a cute little cupola atop his one car garage. It also looks as if the new roof is finished. I got peaches and salad at Angelo's, followed by a trip to Food Mart for a rotisserie chicken and other goodies.

Someone on WFCR today said that that "the hallmark of Clintonism is that one's political agenda is the highest goal in life." To me, the advancement of learning is the highest goal. TV22 had a story on the Breast Cancer Malpractice Institute. Also on 22 Patti Smith had a story asking Is City Block a Boon or a Bust? The Business Community Weighs In. They had the manger of Subway saying that their business is up 20% because of the concerts, but Cafe du Jour were unimpressed and Alice Babcock, Vice-President of Westfield Savings said they were disappointed in the turnouts. Turin said there were crowds of up to 5,000 for the evening concerts, but I doubt it. I counted only 1,500 for NRBQ. Turin came on saying that City Block was "meant to revitalize downtown" but admitted that "some businesses are still hurting."

Commissioner David Driscoll was booed by the Mass Teacher's Association yesterday as he praised the testing program for children. Eamon is a member of the Disabled American Veterans Commanders Club. Usually Eamon calls me, but today I called him to find out how things went at Hampden Savings Bank. He had just gotten home and said he closed his account, but at first they had a hard time confirming that he even had an account. He told me, "My general impression is that the bank is all screwed up." He did tell me that the bank has bought all of Johnson's back buildings including the cracker factory. As for going downtown, Eamon said "I get depressed whenever I go down there."

August 9, 2000

Raining, 77 degrees at 7:30am.

I've noticed that some people battle boredom at the Holyoke Mall by playing board games. The Free Shakespeare Project is presenting As You Like It at the Forest Park Amphitheater. The Second 2 None Car Club Summer Jam is being held at the Hampden Ponds Hall in Westfield across from Froggies Bar and Grill. The colonial at 1671 Wilbraham Road was built in 1951. I am continuing to re-read this diary over the period of Mother's last illness.

Was up at 6pm, watered the plants and stood in the middle of Birchland Avenue watching the day come alive. Saw the shades come up in the Coburn's bedroom at 6:30 and he left about 7am. Saw several on the street roll out their dumpsters just before the truck came by. I spotted Irving Cohn outside and he told me he doesn't see DeRiso much but she still teaches at WNEC. At 7:15am I drove over to Mrs. M. Staniski's and left some magazines by her back door. Eamon said the other day that he was a good friend of former Sheriff John Curley, whose clambake he said used to cost $25. I called Sheriff Ashe and got Mike Sullivan in the Sheriff's office. He said this year's clambake will be August 22nd at Riverside/Six Flags and costs $40 per ticket. Food will include hotdogs, hamburgs and clams but no lobster.

The mail today brought a thank you letter from Mrs. Staniski for the blackberries I gave her. I also got a letter from Lortie Realty which misspelled my name as "Weslie." I called Mercy Oncology and got Patty. I asked her for Mother's medical record with Dr. Stark and she said to come in and fill out a form. I then called Mohammed P. Handani's Laser Surgery and got Mindy who's in charge of their records. She said I can have Mother's records if I send a note requesting them. Finally, I left word with John T. Quirk that I would still like the items related to Muriel and Howard Lynch, which he first offered me back in 1998 at a meeting of the Tuesday Morning Music Club but never sent. Around noon I was on the toilet when Kenneth Martin called looking for Storrowtown. I shouted, "No, but I was on the toilet!" After ordering him to never call again, I slammed down the phone.

Dined on Stouffer's Veal Parmesan and a tossed salad. Eamon called and said the latest copy of BJ's Wholesaler Club Magazine has an article on sports halls of fame in it. Eamon told me he's mad at John McCain for becoming a toady for Bush at the Republican Convention. He claims McCain finished fifth from the bottom of his Annapolis class and no doubt used political pull to get in there. Eamon also said that because he himself has a 100% service related disability Eamon gets free medical care, including free dental and eyeglasses. He says he earned it but admits that a lot of vets are worse off than he is. Eamon then discussed the argumentation and debating skills he learned at Amherst College and said that public speaking is a neglected course of study. At the end Eamon said that "Springfield politics is like a horse's neck, not a straight bone in it."

August 10, 2000

Sun out, 79 degrees at 1:15pm. Gas is $1.59 at the Acres Pride station.

There was a lightening and rain storm overnight around 3am. A Bob Herbert column in the paper Wednesday reports on a study on education reform in Texas. It seems that in response to a lawsuit Governor White asked H. Ross Perot to come up with a plan to improve education in Texas. Perot did all the work and when Ann Richards got in she expanded on his policies. So by the time G. W. Bush got in the reforms were already in motion and all W. had to do was not mess it up. This confirms me in my view that Bush is nothing.

Thomas L. Zimmerman is the President of H&R Block. Nobody around next door. Someone got injured on the Superman ride at Riverside but not seriously. 44 year old Tom Welch was found dead in the Forest Park duck pond. This is Pledge Week on Public TV and at 7:28pm Jerry Franklin down in Connecticut, a station which I consider better than TV57, said that the Lehrer News Hour is the most expensive program on Connecticut Public TV.

My ears were ringing more than usual today. The mail brought a Mass tax refund on Mother's estate and apologies from Acorn Books (nice) and Scholar's Bookshelf (arrogant). My first stop today was Pride in the Acres for a tank of gas, where prices are generally cheaper than the Mobil across the street. They were working on the pipes outside, which caused me to say to the station owner that I bet he never realized that running a gas station would be so complicated. He just stared at me. Then out to the Bank of Western Mass to withdraw money to pay Joe Luttrell for a copy of Mr. Bumpkin's Lawsuit (1883).

Next I went to Home Depot and bought a container of Dalton Enterprise's Premium Crack Filler for $6.98. Then to the Wilbraham Post Office to mail some things out to the National Campaign for Tolerance and American Heritage. I walked around the post office parking lot and from the street the stores look nice with the cupolas and uniform signage. A dance studio is about to open in the last available space. The parking lot surface is not in very good shape, especially by the area closest to Boston Road. Then to Freihopher's where I got a pie and two cakes, plus some wheat bread. Freihopher's was piled high with stuff at noon, I must remember to try to go at that time. I went to Staples and made a color copy of a portrait of my old buddy Robert John Gula. I popped into the Fleet Bank across from the Eastfield Mall and spoke with teller Amy Lagasse. She said there are no safety deposit boxes right now but there may be some in October. Finally, I swung by Stop&Shop for a few things and then home.

There was a bag hanging on my mailbox when I got back. It was from I. Cohn containing the Hillary Clinton book I let him borrow and the current address of DeRiso/Barton. The water meter reader, a young fellow in jeans, rapped on the door so I let him in. He said they come by twice per year. John T. Quirk called from his office at 45 Willow and said he'd drop off the Lynch material in the next day or so. He said the Lynches lived right next to the Grange Hall and recalled how Lynch sometimes fell asleep in class.

August 11, 2000

6pm really cloudy.

Attorney General Tommy Reilly has a commercial asking people who bought insurance from New England Mutual if they want to opt into a class action. With all the other insurance companies so crooked, no wonder Monarch couldn't compete. On the news they had Anita Wilson interviewing Mary Ann Ward while standing on Main Street as part of interviewing people about their opinions of the presidential candidates. Another shot showed Anita interviewing people in front of the Tower Square CVS. Friendly's stock closed at 3.93 today, going down while everything else was going up. Lil Chipmunk Day Care in Wilbraham accepts children one year old and up.

Charges of illegal peddling and disorderly conduct have been dropped against Rev. Yusif Mohammad. Frederick Hurst was his attorney. I went out after 9pm and deposited a check at the Island Pond Road Fleet, then came through the Goodwill at the X but bought nothing except a cute little watercolor in arched mat signed MAC in the lower left corner. At just $20 I thought it was a lithograph but it is an original, showing a rustic bridge, a log over an icy stream and a bit of green on the ground as moss often looks in winter. John T. Quirk dropped off the Lynch material today while I was out. I left a thank you message on his answering machine. Still nobody next door.

The Republican Party Picnic in West Springfield was ruined by thunder showers. Newsman Dan Elias went parachuting with the Golden Knights at Westover. Beth Carroll was also on the plane but didn't jump out. Oh my, Sy Becker was also shown riding in the Hood blimp. Today was John Quill Day in Agawam by proclamation. He retires tomorrow after 47 years with WWLP. It is also Quill's 84th birthday. Dave Madsen closed the TV40 news wishing John Quill a Happy Birthday and noting that he is retiring after 47 years "at one station," never mentioning their competitor but showing some class by noting Quill's departure.

TV22 likes to brag that "some stations try to attract viewers with misleading promotions, but not 22." The are talking about how news shows are always saying "Straight ahead," "Coming right up" and other such statements and then make you wait until much later for the story to actually come up. However, today I called TV22 and got Paul the News Director and told him how the promotion for their City Block coverage came at 5:06pm but hey didn't air the story until an hour later. He replied simply, "Thank you for taking the time to call," and then hung up. Tuned into the Jay Leno Show for the first time in ages and Hillary Clinton was on talking about the need to improve education. But what has she done while her husband has been in office? There was a flood warning on the corner of the TV screen during Leno, I could hear rain pelting the east side of the house.

Tonight I warmed up some Franco-American Macaroni and Cheese in the microwave. Eamon's bank in New Hampshire is Providence of Manchester. He said he has a CD at United Co-0p maturing on the twelfth and is thinking of transferring it to Polish National. Eamon claims the local jail is overstaffed because anyone with the right political connections can get a job there, including people who couldn't pass the police civil service exams. I mentioned John Quirk and Eamon said he had Quirk's aunt Miss Quirk in the second grade at Glenwood Elementary on Connecticut Avenue. Eamon said it was remarkable how many of his elementary school teachers were unmarried women. Eamon recalled how John Quirk supported Charlie Ryan in 1995 and visited the campaign headquarters a couple of times. In the old days Quirk wrote a lot of letters to the editor opposing the Springfield Civic Center and was probably the most prominent critic of the project after Jimmie Grimaldi. Quirk also criticized the makeover of the Municipal Auditorium into Symphony Hall and thinks the new acoustics are lousy.

August 12, 2000

Sunny and mild, 73 degrees at 9:30am.

Nothing that we do matters, things only seem to matter.

Nothing picks up dirt off the floor like bare feet, which might be why the Japanese walk around barefoot in the house. Saw a cardinal on the fence at 7:45am, we have always had cardinals living around here. The hedge is a good hotel for critters since it is so big and thick.

Kelly is setting up her backyard umbrella. There is still nobody next door. I went over and looked in their mailbox and there is a pile of mail, one letter is addressed to Jonathan and Christina Salvon forwarded from their old residence at 2205 Boston Road, Wilbraham. They have a GMAC mortgage. Out at 10am, to make a deposit of $118.911 at Fleet Bank on Island Pond Road. First I left the Boston Herald at the Penniman's. Then I made copies and put out the mail to Luttrell, Stark and others. I saw no Valley Advocates at the Breckwood Louis & Clark this week. I asked a woman leaving Females in Training (what a physique she had for a woman) about the rumors that they might relocate to the new Basketball Hall of Fame and she said she has heard nothing about it.

I drove over to Atty. Ouirk's to drop off some reading material on his front porch, which has bookcases on it laden with books. He lives in a tall, old house, freshly painted a forest green with a one car garage out back. A fine residence, but the surrounding neighborhood is in decline. Next I drove to Spag's and bought a bottle of Damir Varnish, then got a deli baloney grinder at Subway. I then went to see Kathryn at Fancy That and thanked her for all the price breaks she's given me over the years. She looked real pleased. The guy up to Forest Park Antiques says he's moving to larger quarters down Sumner Avenue. He has a lot of cheap, non-elite stuff, but says the current inventory "is just the tip of the iceberg."

My next intention was to stop at Lederer's but when I arrived I saw that the pretty greenery in front was overgrown with weeds. There was a sign on the front door reading:

Dear Friends and Customers,
I would like to thank you for 63 years of friendship and faithful patronage, but due to health reason I have decided to retire.
Thank you!
Karl Lederer


Inside the place has been stripped (the murals are gone) and there was a Union-News dated August 3rd on the windowsill. In the front entrance way window is an immense sign reading AVAILABLE Schreiber & Co. Realtor 736-2778. Next door in the dive shop Fantasia, the guy said they closed up six weeks ago. The little shopping center down there is doing well, as is the ethnic grocery store. My motorcycle jacket got me lots of respect today and I was meticulously polite to everyone.

Coming up State Street there were telephone workers picketing in front of the art deco building next to Commerce. There were two kids skateboarding on the nice walkway along the side of the school heading to the new addition in the rear. I also saw two picketers standing in front of the telephone company building across from Duggan Middle School.

The paper says that Peter Picknelly has been given more time to submit plans for revitalizing Union Station. That project is always being delayed. Eamon called and said he is only five feet four inches tall because his growth got stunted by scarlet fever. His brothers are five feet ten and his mother had brothers who were over six feet. The Acres Civic Association newsletter came out today with a glaring typo saying that a Fran Gagnon lecture and a visit from Courniotes of AIC is to take place at the same time. So I called Dr. Al Kerouak and he said he will complain to the printer about the error. He said Courniotes will speak on the 21st and Gagnon will be on the 15th.

August 13, 2000

69 degrees at 8am, overcast.

There are significant forest fires in eleven states. The number of Pine Grove Stump Grinding is 783-7236. Been reading English poet George Crabbe for the first time, despite the fact that the City Library once had an old volume. Crabbe is undervalued and not fully appreciated. He is a novelist in verse who draws a lovely picture of country life in all its aspects, including the less fortunate. When critics say Crabbe lacks the high poetic qualities of others they miss the point. Crabbe was a storyteller in verse who wrote good stuff that has been totally neglected.

Nobody around next door. I went out at 8:15am and went down to the telephone building across from Duggan and parked by the entrance to the back lot by the theater and liquor store and walked around. 1046 Wilbraham Road is the abandoned Breckwood Professional Building, a white four unit structure with stairs going up to the front door. It is not handicapped accessible. The left door still has the name Dr. Robert A. Leikin Oral Surgeon on it. There are also steps down to two doors into two basement suits with substantial windows above the ground. No names there. There is a chain link fence around the thing with mature sumacs and other weeds all around. How long has it been abandoned? Perhaps because of its lack of handicapped accessibility it became a white elephant. The original builder may have thought it was cute to put up a medical building without an elevator.

Next I checked out the picketers in front of the telephone building. There were four of them plus a cop (badge #133). I asked the picketers if they had any handouts and they said no. I told the cop about my street literature collection and gave him my card. He pointed to the wanted posters for the killer of Molly Bish and I told him I already have one. There were eight utility trucks in the phone building parking lot and the picketers were carrying signs saying, IBEW Local 2324 ON STRIKE.

From there I went to McDonald's for an Egg McMuffin, where I read the paper with an article in it about the struggle of the Odyssey Bookstore to survive. Then to Food Mart, where I was amazed to find a poster on which WGBY-57 was advertising its Paul Bisaccia programs. It is the first time I remember a TV station using a poster to promote its programming. I see that Ann of Green Gables is back on 57 but too late for Mother to see it. I went to Pride in the Acres to photocopy the lettering on Mother's urn and when I came out it was pouring.

I spent part of today deciding what to put into Mother's urn and making an inventory. I wish I could have found the lovely opal pin I bought for Mother in Cleveland, which she wouldn't wear for superstitious reasons. I always hoped she tucked it away somewhere and I should eventually find it, but no such luck. I believe I paid $85 for it. I weighed Mother's urn on two of my scales and it weighted exactly 4.5 pounds on each. In all I spent four hours working on the estate today. Eamon called tonight and talked about how Paul Sears made lots of money and had a fancy house over by Charlie Ryan (who is his brother in law) but Sears sold the house and now lives in a condo downtown.

August 14, 2000

Overcast and things are wet, 77 degrees this morning.

Thomas F. Welch of Burton Street, who was found dead in Forest Park, has been determined to have died of a heroin overdose, according to Lt. William J. Noonan of the Detective Bureau. I got a letter from Karen Falb in which she comments on my old Valley Advocate article that, "Having myself grown up in the Connecticut Valley, I find your comments about the best and worst things to have happened to Springfield to be right on target."

I'm typing at the dining room table. The jeep is in the driveway next door meaning that Salvon is back. I called to welcome them back and to remind them about the trash collection. He sounded somewhat groggy when he answered, but he soon came to himself. I drove out about 11:15am and had four color copies made at CopyCat for $1.19 each. I then hit Angelo's and got lots of stuff. I asked Angelo about the red Angelo's t-shirts with the green lettering they used to sell. Angelo smiled and said the shirts weren't selling at their original price of $18, so he kept lowering the price until it was just $2 and still nobody bought them. I said that wasn't nice and Angelo laughed saying that eventually he just gave the shirts away so there are none left except the one he was wearing. I told him that once the shirt becomes scruffy and unpresentable I will buy it from him.

Next I went downtown and parked at the Telephone Worker's Credit Union. On the way there I picked up two posters, a badly printed one for the Taste of Northampton and another for tango lessons at the Lady Madonna Studios in Easthampton. I took those off the closed Friendly's on State Street, whose plywood window covers have become a major postering site. Things were damp downtown but no rain was actually falling. The doors to the Paramount were propped open so I looked in and encountered a man with a lot of keys in his hand. I asked what they intended to do with the organ and he said "it's staying, although somebody offered us an awful lot of money for it." It's great they are keeping it, but I predict that one day it will be sold and leave the city, unless there are formal covenants tying it down to the property.

No City Block concert today, but the UPS man was there with his special truck. The tables and chairs that are usually set up were stacked over by Tilly's. I fished today's paper out of a trashcan and noted that it has a notice about F. Gagon's upcoming address to the Civic Association. There was a cluster of four women standing under the bank building overhang. A little guy with a BID button and gold rank bars came along wearing a name tag reading Clifford Waldren, so I asked him how many times this year the City Block concerts have been cancelled. He said he was just filling in and didn't know. Even with no entertainment, office workers still come out to get fresh air and stand around. At 12:40 I counted 63 people standing in the area or walking around. If a jazz band had been playing, there might have been 200 people.

For supper I drove out to the Foody Goody at Haymarket Square on Boston Road. What an awful name! Actually, it's Chinese and real nice. There's a picture on the back wall of the Great Wall of China and a waterfall picture in the front of the main dining area. Lots of Chinese delicacies on the menu and not much of the plain stuff I prefer. I like the Old Country Buffet in West Springfield better, Foody Goody is more expensive and the waiters expect to be tipped. My total bill came to $9.40. I corrected the English on their menu and they were nice about it. I told the lady manager that she can speak English better than I can speak Chinese. It's a good place, but I won't be going back.

So yesterday I identified the things to go into Mother's urn along with her cremains. This evening I packed the urn. I put in Mother's obituary, Father's obituary and my resume and card. Then a sprig from the Vermont lilac brought down from Rochester Mountain. I put in splendid pictures of Mother and Father, plus the sapphire pendant and the silver bracelet. I also included Mother's 1928 engagement ring which was reset in 1937. Mother was apparently given the ring for her birthday, December 15th. The gold bracelet went in the urn, but the sterling one did not. The pearl Mother found in a cooked oyster in 1936 went in, as did her pet stones. I also included a share of Monarch Capital Corporation Common Stock. My parents owned five thousand shares of stock in that company, which went bankrupt around 1990 as part of the general economic collapse of Springfield. Gordon N. Oakes ruined the company, an idiot incompetent with an agriculture degree from UMass. I stirred the cremains around and found a number of staples. I have saved them, you may be sure. The urn is now packed and ready to be sealed by Aldrich. Here is the complete list of everything placed in Mother's urn:


Note - When her husband John Wesley Miller, Jr. was buried in April 1985, since he was embalmed, there was no time to include anything in the coffin except Ambrose, the family teddy bear and Floppy, the family pink rabbit. Included with the cremains of Blanche Miller are items from her father Frank Martin Wilson, from her mother Blanche Simpson Gleason Wilson and items of her husband's.

Small plastic honey colored teddy bear from the china closet.
Small plastic pink rabbit from the china closet.
1897 Indian head penny from Frank Martin Wilson's wallet.
1 crisp $5 bill series 1977A.
1 crisp $10 bill Series 1977A
1 crisp $20 bill Series 1981A. Blanche and John never used larger bills.
John's driver's license, expiration 11-12-88 with his photo, a good likeness.
Blanche's Springdale Mall ID card with photo, a good likeness.
Bethel Bicentennial Medal Serial Number 38 supplied by John's brother Manual Miller.
Art deco chrome table bell, a gift from Aunts Mabel and Julia when John and Blanche were married.
John's 1932-33 bowling medal suspended from white ribbon.
John's 1928 Kappa Phi Kappa University of Vermont key.
John's Life Office Management Associates 1948 key.
John's American College of Life Underwriters key.
John's Monarch Life Insurance Company 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 year pins, all with diamonds.
John's youthful Wild Bill Hickok belt buckle.
Pet Stones: white egg shaped stone picked up by Blanche on Lake Michigan, October 1973,
dark egg shaped stone from the road leading to the Wilson Place on Rochester Mountain.
Grandma Wilson's watch with chain.
Grandma Wilson's small bone letter opener with her initials nearly worn off.
Frank Wilson's two glass eyes.
Blanche's gold beads, gold chain, earrings, a pearl from an oyster.
Eight rings, including one engraved "Father, June 1924" when she graduated from high School.
Blanche's sterling, crystal and diamond bracelet from John, 1927.
Blanche's sterling thimble from a friend with most of the blue enamel fallen off.
Blanche's Daughter's of the American Revolution emblem and chain.
Blanche's large sapphire necklace with silver chain and four pearls,
a birthday present from John about 1933. She never wore it because she was superstitious about pearls, but she loved it.
Blanche's gold locket, ring and chain from her early years.
Two of Blanche's penknives, one Mother-of-Pearl, the other silver.
Blanche's gold teddy bear pendant on a chain, a birthday gift from John.
Blanche's art deco gold with black enamel bracelet from John, an anniversary gift.
Blanche's panda pendant (Franklin Mint) anniversary gift on September 3, 1982.
A bottle of Blanche's favorite perfume Lucien Lelong's Whisper, but they stopped making it.
Snippet of Blanche's hair for DNA.
Business card of her son Attorney J. Wesley Miller III, Blanche and John's obituary and a copy of this Inventory.



Eamon called and claimed that Bishop Thomas M. O'Leary was a gambler who liked to play the ponies. He says a lot of clergymen rob the church to give money to their families. I told him about my work on Mother's urn and he said his mother's funeral cost over $6000, but Phaneuf later told Eamon that he would have done it for $3,500. Eamon claims that Sampson's is the most expensive funeral home around and is rumored to steal people's jewelry. Eamon said he has already paid Phaneuf $900 to be cremated.

August 15, 2000

Overcast, 69 degrees at 8am.

Four more years of the Bush family in the White House would be unfair! Today is Julia Child's 88th birthday. The WFCR morning news said they broke ground on the new Basketball Hall of Fame yesterday and work will be completed in two years, including the museum, a theater, retail stores and an underground garage. No mention of Picknelly or Hurwitz and their hotel and restaurant. Connecticut's Suffield Conference Center boasts in their advertising of having a state of the art computer lab. Emily M. Binn, the daughter of Donald and Melissa Binn of Wilbraham, a marketing major at UMass Amherst, has made the Dean's List.

The Western Mass Republicans hold their picnic each year at the West Springfield/Agawam Elks Pavilion on Morgan Road. Bacon & Wilson, founded in 1895, is located at 33 State Street in Springfield. Hyman G. Darling was voted Best Probate Lawyer in Western Mass in 1986 and 1987. Mother died January 23, 1999 at age 92. I spoke with Judy at Byron's and she said that Aldrich is on vacation this week but if I come in at 2pm Monday the 21st he'll be able to seal up the urn.

I went out and picked up a package of new books at the Main Post Office downtown. The day was cloudy but there were occasional patches of blue. I parked on Salem and the azaleas that lacked water in front of the Spanish church have partly died. Over at 492 Bridge Street next to the porn shop at Nuestra Iglesia there was a message in Spanish signed by Pastor Juan Vera. In the porn shop they now have Leatherman Magazine again at last, the guy said they ordered extra so they don't run out. Down at St. Francis Chapel everything is abandoned but the clock is still working and continues to serve the public looking in the window. Finestein's window was full of books that were down in the cellar and which he is taking home. In front of the main telephone building there were lots of picketers but no leaflets. The front of the old Tic-Toc Lounge is being pulled off and a fancy bar Art-e-Pasta is going in nearby. Duryea Park is being encroached upon by restaurants on both sides who want to use it for outdoor dining.

At the Post Office I received Martinet on Artful Dodging, The Ultimate Car Collectors Price Guide, which suggests that Lizzy the Model T is worth several thousand dollars and Thomas Cole's Paintings of Eden. I then went down to City Block where the first person I saw was the UPS man who remembered me and said, "How ya doin?" At 11:27am I was sitting on a bench reading the newspaper I got out of a trashcan when Russ Denver came along and said, "Hello, Attorney Miller." I replied, "Howdy do!" There was a banner hanging up promoting Masslive.com and sandwich boards promoting Pizzeria Uno, Tilly's, Theodore's and Spaghetti Freddy's. Picnic tables were set up and Tilly's played music on their outdoor speakers during breaks. Interestingly, City Block employees hogged one table the whole time I was there. There were 12 tables, five umbrellas and 38 chairs. It was a good show featuring Bruce MacKay. He described himself as "a multi-instrumental genius, song writer and story teller."

Turin appeared and was talking with Burke by Tilly's. Only nine customers were eating outside at Tilly's. In all I counted 176 people in attendance. Eugene Berman walked by but didn't see me, he had a woman with him and shifted from inside to outside to walk down the street with her. Atty. Berman is a gentleman. A Latino woman came by with two bulging U.S. Factory Outlet bags. Returning to the car I encountered a handsome young black man wearing an Amherst College t-shirt. I asked him if he went to Amherst and he replied, "Nope, Westfield State." At Mason Square a Community Health Fair looked like a pleasant event on the front lawn of the Shiloh 7th Day Adventist, formerly Hope Church.

While I was out, Ted Dacisme called from Agawam, wrong number. I dined today on soup, salad, fruit and cake. Eamon called and said he ran into an old acquaintance at Cal's Variety he hasn't seen in years, James Gilhouly, a graduate of MIT and an engineer in Boston. He has a brother who is retired from the Springfield Police Department and a brother who worked for the Fire Department who is dead. Gilhouley said he can't get over the decline of downtown and the loss of all the little stores on the sidestreets "the little shops that make a city's downtown work." He says the loss of population in Springfield is "a significant loss for a small city." When Eamon told him that 60% of the city's employees live outside the city he remarked, "That tells you that they see the city as a cash cow, they just use the city for a paycheck." Gilhouly was already familiar with the water leakage problem at New North School. He said the city was named Springfield for a reason, that there is underground water all over.

Eamon says two Springfield police officers have been accused of raping a woman in their cruiser. The PD will have an internal investigation, but Eamon says they always cover these things up. He accused "Billy Bennett" of helping to cover up police wrongdoing in the past as well as crimes by political figures such as Anthony Ardolino. "Unless you have hard evidence," Eamon said, "they cover everything up." He said his friend Deputy Chief Spellacy told him that he felt "isolated and alienated" by Chief Meara.

August 16, 2000

Pouring at 7:17am. Gas is $1.55 at Watershop Pond stations.

The July issue of Restaurants and Institutions lists Friendly's as 43rd best in the country. At noon Friendly's stock was at 4.12. Attorney Robert A. Corbert was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1948. Attorney Stephen Krevalin was born in Springfield in 1951. I wrote The History of Buckingham Junior High School in 1956. SLAM calls itself, "The in Your Face Basketball Magazine."

Up at 6:15am, I tied up some branches and cut back the golden rod which has crowded out the phlox. In nature organisms do not share, they push others out. Went inside when I saw a flash of lightening at 7:04am. I called Aunt Maria and let it ring eight times, but no one answered. A. Malagati of 86 York Street, West Springfield, called wanting to book a Christmas party at Storrowtown. I replied, "Since Mother died, we haven't had any Christmas parties," and she hung up.

I went to the speech Francis Gagnon of the city's Historical Commission gave to the Sixteen Acres Civic Association at the Church in the Acres on Wilbraham Road. She discussed plans for the State Street corridor where a new federal courthouse is to be built. The development is also expected to have an impact on Byers, Spring, Elliot, Mattoon and Pearl Streets. They required you to bring a donation for Open Pantry as payment for the lecture, so I brought a can of hot chili I accidentally bought some weeks ago. Since Roger Dumas passed away, Jean Masse is the next Civic Association President. Fran Gagnon wore a blue top and blue skirt with white shoes. Gagnon said, "I am almost 58 and can recall when State Street was busy with all sorts of activity involving Classical, Commerce, Cathedral and the Armory going full blast. All that has changed." I counted 37 people in attendance, including the Powells, who told me they are supporting Bush for President.

Joseph J. D'Amour of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians in Chicopee has a letter in the paper wondering why Bishop Thomas Dupre allowed pro-abortion Governor Jane Swift to speak on July 26 when the Catholic Church is "intensely and unconditionally pro-life." Paul D. Condon of Springfield had a letter defending columnist Thomas Sowell from a previous letter writer who described Sowell's attacks on public education as "hateful." On the Democratic Convention tonight Ted Kennedy gave a stumbling speech, but Joe Lieberman did splendidly as did Gore's daughter. Lieberman said "there must be room for everyone" but there can't be room for everybody. I like the national Democrats a lot, but I don't like their friends in the local machine.

Eamon called and said the woman who accused two Springfield police officers of raping her was a white woman who was dating a black man. They were arguing in a car when the cops came along and told the black man to get lost while they took the woman to the Camp Massasoit area. At first the sex was consensual, but at one point she began to resist and it became rape. One of the accused cops was a newcomer to the police force who had previously been fired from Sears for stalking women! Eamon also said that he was talking with his friend Casella who told him that the Main Street Post Office was built with a foundation strong enough to hold two or three more stories than it currently has. He also insisted that all three public high schools, Classical, Tech and Commerce, could have been rehabilitated to meet modern standards for a lower price than what it cost to build Central High.

August 17, 2000

There are 160,000 deer in Vermont. Barry Moser is the featured speaker at the Oak Knoll Book Fest. Jason Russell on TV40 described today's weather as being more like late fall than late summer. At 6:59 each morning TV40 has a City Block weather forecast that includes a list of events. TV22 says that Absorbine Jr. will be in East Longmeadow by January 2001. Northeast Utilities has two new TV commercials, one featuring a portrait of Primus Mason and the other of Mayor Albano fulminating about "the improvements to our 45 schools" and praising himself for improvements in the city's infrastructure and energy efficiency.

I recall how Father and I visited Ottawa years ago to do research on Commodore Steele. Cheryl J. Dunn is a partner in Bacon & Wilson. Gary G. Breton wrote an article Protecting Your Business With Buy-Sell Agreements for BusinessWest in November 1999. Bear Auto Leasing is located at 510 Main Street in Springfield. Peter K. Barrett of 565-2643 called looking for Storrowtown. I wrote to the Leather Archives this morning. I also called Aunt Maria and let it ring six times but no one answered.

Before I went out today, I poured tar into the little cracks in the driveway. I put the tar on at the right time when the temperature was going up. I went downtown and parked on Salem at 12:10. There were 287 people attending the show at City Block, with 21 at Tilly's, a few vendors like Downtown Dogs around and that's all. Today the featured attraction was puppets, with children sitting on the grass in front of the stage set up by New Hampshire's Perry Alley Theater. It was a man and woman doing kinky versions of classic fairy tales and they were splendid. At one point during The Princess and the Pea they wondered what went under the piles of mattresses and nobody knew so I shouted out, "A Brussels sprout!" That delighted them and they gave their color postcard to me. Later when I got home I placed it on the mantel alongside the organ grinder and the monkey who kissed Mother.

The hot dogs sold well and at the break the sponsor Baystate Medical passed out little packets of Teddy Grahams for the kids, but that was after most parents had already bought them hot dogs. There were no picnic tables set up. Ann Burke approached me and we spoke for ten minutes. I told her that overall the artistic performances at City Block this year have been quite good. She said she'd just sent out a questionnaire to businesses to get their feedback on how the series is going. She also informed me that the same artist who did those great Holyoke posters did the graphic designs for City Block. I was told that there is going to be a sidewalk art contest next and I informed her of how I had once sent them a memo suggesting sidewalk drawing. Burke told me that everyone keeps hoping that someone will rent the still empty Johnson's Bookstore space.

Over in Tower Square I found a whopping 193 people eating in the food court. Factory Outlet was having a sale on men's suits and coats. At Pizzeria Uno I counted 19 on the terrace and 17 inside for a total of 36 at 1:20pm. Next I swung by the Hofbrahaus where I hoped to buy lunch but they were closed. So I went over for further adventures at the Insurance Center of New England. Inside there was a counter with literature upon it, but nothing about New England Fidelity. There was an XMass calendar handout, some Ways to Save on Your 2000 Mass Auto Insurance booklets and ads for Western Mass Collision Service and Hanover Glass. They also had the schedule for the Wilbraham Peach Festival. I went last year but won't be going again because they claim admission is free but then hit you with a $3 parking fee. I went up to the receptionist Jane Parker, who asked what I wanted and invited me to take a seat and said Joanne Gould would be with me as soon as she gets off the phone.

Sitting on one of the benches was a young woman named Jessica Kavanau who was selling tapes of her short stories for $5. She said she has a bachelor's degree in English from Chicago and started to study education at UMass but didn't finish. She gave me a copy of an article about herself that appeared in the January 6 1998 edition of the Daily Hampshire Gazette. I wished her well and told her I am an author myself, but declined to buy her tape, telling her that getting $5 out of me is rather difficult. At some point Joanne hung up and prepared to make another call, but Jane intervened and Gould offered to help me. I asked if they were connected with Hampden Savings Bank and she said, "We do help out." I asked if they were completely independent of Hampden Savings and she said, "We cannot answer that if you are not connected to Hampden Savings Bank." I asked for her card and when she went to get it I saw her speak to her supervisor and then throw her hands up in the air. When she handed me her card she coldly said, "Please have a pleasant afternoon."

August 19, 2000

62 degrees and sunny at 6:45am.

Tipper Gore is 52 and President Clinton is 54. This is a splendid fall like day, but what will we get for winter? I'm afraid to project. It will be too late to do anything by the time we realize that we have ecologically ruined the Earth. Spent too much time recently typing in this damn diary, but there was a lot of information to log in. The mail was late. I saw a bumper sticker today that read, "Dick Miller Sent Me." Now who would that be? WFCR had a piece on the Center for Reading Life Stories in Northampton. Dined today on fruit, veggies, a hot pocket and a can of soup in the evening.

Former Mayor Bob Markel has missed out on the Chelsea City Management job by a 7-4 vote after thirteen ballots. He missed out on a job in Lowell earlier. The State Department of Education wants volunteers as education advisers at 781-338-3115. Whatever happened to their toll free number? I've told both Brian Lees and Paul Caron that there should be toll free numbers to reach all state offices. A travel agent named Jay Smith is marketing the festivities surrounding the Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement in packages varying from $400 to $900.

I dropped off some reading material, including the current issue of Fortune magazine at Irving Cohn's, then put out the mail at Louis & Clark. There was a little white car with a Connecticut plate parked at Kelly's. At a tag sale at 220 Jeffrey Road I got a modern cloisonne vase for $3. I decided to go to the rock concert by FAT this evening. I parked in front of the old YMCA and was personally able to count 356 people present at 7:48pm, so at the peak it was probably around 500. There was nobody in Cafe Eurasia and nobody lined up for beer or hotdogs. Only a few people were seated on Tilly's patio. A cop was standing in front of Civic Center Convenience, another by the old Third National Bank and one each in front of Subway and Tilly's.

It was a good crowd considering it was misting out but not quite raining. There were about 15 people who brought their own lawn chairs. The music was splendid with the sound mixing console under a white tent. The lead singer Peter Newland made a crack about the band having to play in a puddle and referred back to the 1970's when the band used to play under all kinds of conditions all over Massachusetts. I spotted Robert Turin staying dry by sitting under the sound tent. At 8:10 I spotted Turin buying a beer. At one point two fellows, one in a UMass t-shirt, started fighting over a couple of girls who were dancing.

When I got home Eamon called and said Charlie Ryan will be out of town for the next three weeks. Eamon is upset that nothing has been reported in the paper to follow up on the story of the rapes by police. I told him that no big city paper would let the story go and was surprised when a few hours later I heard this message on Eamon's phone editorial:

"The rape by two Springfield rogue cops would be a front page story in any other daily newspaper, but not so with the monopoly rag Union-Snooze. It is three days later and there's been no update regarding this horrendous act. Thankfully, the victim got the number of the police cruiser and reported it to the State Police. They have impounded the police cruiser and DNA tests are being performed at the State Police Crime Lab in Sudbury, Massachusetts. Had she reported the rape to the Springfield Police Department or the local District Attorney's Office, it would have resulted in just another cover up to protect Chief Paula Meara from charges that her department is out of control." That message includes information not reported in the media which Eamon said he got from people who dump messages in his mailbox or slide notes under his door.

August 20, 2000

63 degrees on the breezeway at 8am.

Today I saw a Molly Bish poster I'd never seen before. September 24th will be Gaelic Ireland Day at the Big E. Tim Allen is the Chairman of the Board of the Irish Cultural Center at Elms College. John Bellows of Sears Real Estate was on TV claiming that real estate values are going up in Springfield. A.G. Timmy Reilly is running commercials seeking people who were aggrieved by New England Mutual between 1983 and 1996. No wonder Monarch couldn't compete against such crooks. Peggy Bone majored in French at Colby and married Gary Britton Miles. I am currently reading A Guide to Writing Sociology Papers (1994), World War I British Poets and The Curse of Madam C, a Far Side comics collection.

I hung the pictures I dragged down from the attic. Left at 10:15 for the Allen Street McDonald's for an Egg McMuffin at 99 cents. Most of the employees there are black. Then I went to Food Mart and bought Hungry Man dinners on special and then went to a few Open Houses. The 1930's wooden house at the intersection of Wilbraham and Old Acre Road is being substantially rebuilt. On the corner of Tinkham is a new house with an old fashioned front porch. I see that Lorenzo J. Larson's yellow ranch house is for sale and Lortie is the broker. I saw kids riding those new narrow aluminum scooters by the golf course along Plumtree by Larson's.

I attended the Open House at 83 Macomber, a long yellow ranch. The owners moved to Florida and rented it out for seven years and it is now pretty beat up. There are finished rooms in the basement and a fireplace, and the backyard has grown up to weeds around an above ground pool. I also went the Open House down to 387 Union Street. It's a nice old house but it needs a lot of work. Out back there's a deep lot reaching back to the cemetery and all grown up with weeds. The whole property reeks of Victorian Protestants. With the right restoration, it could be a showplace again, just the thing for a young lawyer and his tomboy wife with a little money. The house is sort of at the peak of the hill so out of the window you get a vista of downtown interrupted only by Wesson Hospital. Bottom Line: Place is run down and needs thousands in repairs.

I swung by Mrs. Staniski's who returned three of the hardbound Agatha Christie books I lent her. She told me that Grimaldi Oil never contacted her so she will let Noonan replace the oil tank. I asked if she wanted to see Mother's urn and she declined, noting that both her mother and husband John were cremated, which I hadn't known. When I left she gave me some more pink Hollyhock seeds. Just before I got home, I parked at Sixteen Acres Garden Center and walked across the street. Just before the little house at 1350, there is a vacant lot where in the old days a small white cottage with a fireplace at one end was set way back on the property. That has been demolished and only the cellar hole and a few bricks remain. I wonder if they intend to build something there?

When I got back I finished mowing the lawn. I twisted my ankle slightly carrying garden waste. There was a white car with a Connecticut plate over to Kelly's. Christine's blue car (9862 FV) is gone from under the shed. I called Pam Jendrysik and her boy answered. When Pam came on I asked if she got the $20 I sent her and she said yes and thanked me. I told her I was sorry I couldn't do more. I then asked her whether Aunt Maria ever paid her anything for all she did for her and she replied, "No, she did not." She then told me that she hasn't talked to Aunt Maria in some time and so I told her about Aunt Maria's current situation.

Pam said Aunt Maria was nice to her at first, but then started doing things like accusing her of stealing her remote control. Pam found it and gave it to her, but she did not apologize. Pam also got no thanks for spending days sorting through clothing and other things left behind by my Uncle George. She said she was really upset and hurt by Aunt Maria's cranky behavior. Pam insisted, "I tried to help your Aunt, I really wanted to help her." I told her that if she remembered any other negative details regarding her relationship with my Aunt to feel free to call me.

The Verizon strike is over and everyone will get a 12% pay raise and better pension benefits. I remember one of the strikers I spoke to across from Duggan telling me they expected to win the strike because of all the phones that have to be connected for college students in September. Dined tonight on a Hungry Man Salisbury Steak Dinner. I received a letter today regarding my entry to Poetry.com's International Library of Poetry from Editor Rob Hartman:

Although your contest entry Cocksucker's First Love Sonnet is well written, we sincerely regret that we will be unable to publish your poem in its current form. Once your poem went on to further judging, we found that it did not meet standards established by our Senior Editorial Board for publication. We realize this is a disappointment, yet we hope you understand that our books are meant to reach a wide audience of all ages and beliefs. For this reason, we are required to maintain a certain level of neutrality in both the content and subject matter of our poetic selections. This is in no way a reflection on the integrity of your artistic talent.

August 21, 2000

Octoberlike, 55 degrees at 7am.

In November 1999 Michelle M. Begley wrote an article Prenuptial Agreements Make Good Business Sense for BusinessWest. Atty. Gary G. Bretton is a partner at Bacon & Wilson, knowledgeable in banking and business. Bill Furstenberg was a broad shouldered, friendly fellow at Colby who was once a friend of mine but not a close one. WFCR usually works a tidbit of Vermont news into their news segments. Today they said that 250,000 cords of wood are sold in Vermont each year at about $175 per cord. Ho, ho! Gas is going up and so is the cost of wood.

The Hampden County Citizens Against the Death Penalty will be holding a reception on August 23rd to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the executions of Italian immigrants Nicola Saco and Bartholomeo Vanzetti by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1927 at the Bishop Marshall Center at St. Michael's Cathedral. The mail today was unexcitingly routine. Lucius' garage door was open today and I could see his red Cadillac inside. Mrs. Penniman waved to me, I haven't seen her husband sitting out by the garage in his wheelchair since early summer. Irving Cohn was sitting in his red director's chair.

I drove into the city and parked on Edwards in the section before the parking meters start and walked down the hill to the City Block event. I counted 103 committed watchers of a juggling act by Leonard Solomon. He had a host of funny homemade musical instruments. I focused on studying them before in due course he played them. Solomon started on the "bellowphone" playing "Oh When the Saints Come Marching In." On his little organ called the Callioforte (31 keys) he played the English tune "Sigh No More, Ladies." He also performed the "Overture from William Tell" on an instrument made of dog food cans soldered together. His Ruby Goldberg instruments were in perfect tune. Afterwards, I struck up a conversation and he gave me his card. I told him he is a great hippie and he admitted, "Yes, I am one." He said his act began as a lecture on acoustics for 5th graders and he said he performs a lot in schools. Solomon told me he is from Concord, Massachusetts. I asked if he has ever thought of patenting his instruments but Solomon said he had no intention of doing so.

They were passing out surveys about the City Block program and gave us Teddy Grahams left over form the Baystate Health sponsored show the other day if you would fill it out. I told them it would be better if they moved the shows over to Steiger Park or Court Square. I later gave the Teddy Grahams to Honey Pot, but now my doll Sweet Pea wants to know what I intend to do for rabbits. I saw Turin and I praised Solomon's show to him. The hot dog stand was there and other vendors selling popcorn, candles and a wide array of candy bars. I never saw Ann Burke. Workmen were washing the windows of the Johnson's Bookstore office tower. I saw a 25% Off sign in the window of Antiques on Boland Way but I didn't stop in. There were no City Block shirts for sale. After the show ended at 12:30, I went into Subway and bought a grinder.

From there I headed up to Byron's to have Aldrich seal up Mother's urn. I described to him the contents of Mother's urn and when I told him about the Monarch stock certificates I put in with Mother he correctly stated that they were worth nothing. He is probably someone who got stung as bad as we did. I asked him the charge for sealing the urn and he said it costs nothing but I gave him $10 anyway. He accepted it and said we are "friends always" to which I replied "you may be sure."

They say it was in the thirties some places last night with a record low of 45 degrees recorded last night at Windsor Locks. I finished a puzzle of the Eiffel Tower last night but one piece was missing. Cut off my Apache haircut, picked up the breezeway and did the dishes. Then I took a bath and did a load of wash. Also pushed the vac around. There is a new green station wagon over Dickie Nichols but it is unregistered. The Coburn's car is around so they must be back from vacation. Unknown called but when I picked up there was no voice. Unknown called four more times today, but I did not pick up. Eamon called and said he just spoke to Nader the Hatter in Florida. Nader said the weather down there is beautiful and he never wants to return to the weather up here. Nader told Eamon that he feels like he has "a relationship" with a school of fish that come to swim with him everyday.

August 22, 2000

63 degrees at 8am.

Someone on TV said about G.W. Bush, "Anybody who surrounds themselves with the right people is going to receive the right advice." The evening news said they have found a crow in South Hadley that tested positive for West Nile Virus and will start using pesticides on Friday. I say why didn't they do it preventably in expectation of such a discovery? In 1991 the firm of of Bacon & Wilson converted 33 State Street, opposite the Hampden County Courthouse, into their law offices. Unique plaster columns were found behind the walls of the upstairs offices when they were gutted. To restore the columns, they found an Irish plasterer who rebuild and refurbished each column by hand. Sunday Skool at 296 Worthington Street has as its motto "Skool is not for Everybody." Fifteen people from Chicopee died in Vietnam.

I went out at 9:15am, put out the mail at Louis & Clark and then went to the library at AIC. I parked on Massachusetts Avenue and then went to the library and worked at the microfilm reader until 2:45pm! I looked over six rolls of microfilm and found various things, including the autobiographical essay Father wrote, but I still haven't found Father's account of his early years in Bethel. I did find a full account of Father's retirement dinner with a copy of the speech given by Dr. Simpson, subsequently killed when a gas explosion leveled the good Doctor's house in Wilbraham. I also found Father's account of the marriage of cousin Charles Bowen and Donna Marie Lashway in May 1976. But most interestingly, I found Father's History of the Monarch Credit Union in four parts. I spent several dollars making copies at a dime each. The freebies rack is gone so alas no freebies.

I got home at 2:55pm as an elderly lady in a tan late model car was stopping at the Coburn's. Whenever I get home, it always seems as though somebody has just called. Today it was the Center for School Crisis and Intervention. I called back and their receptionist Peggy said she didn't know who had called me or why. Tru-Green called today but I was napping. Later a Scott Labonte called and when I picked up he said, "I'm sorry, I must have the wrong number, sir." I called the Telephone Worker's Credit Union and the receptionist started by apologizing, "I've only been here two months." Isn't it the same everywhere? She said their President is Paul MacDonald who is on vacation until August 28th. She said he doesn't have a secretary, so I left a voicemail asking about the nature of their company archives and what they have from the merger with the Monarch Credit Union. I then asked whether he would be interested in a copy of Father's manuscript. We'll see what happens.

August 23, 2000

Sunny, 65 degrees at 8am. Gas is $1.54 at the Cumberland Farms in Hungry Hill.

Paul H. Rothschild is a partner in the Springfield based law firm of Bacon & Wilson. Gary R. Parks who lives at 147 Westminster called and we had an interesting chat. He wanted to know if I could appraise an old painting for him but I said I am not competent to appraise a painting. I told him the best way to get an appraisal is through an auction house and I mentioned Stanton's. Mrs. Arthur McIvery called and said, "I was calling Storrowtown," to which I replied, "Madam, I get about a dozen such wrong numbers a week and I don't take kindly to them." Unknown also called but when I picked up there was no voice though I could hear someone moving around. Then nothing.

My left arm has really improved to where I can lift the 25 pound weight seven times each morning with relative ease. This was the day of the Sacco-Vanzetti reception. I didn't go, probably to their relief. This was also the day of Sheriff Ashe's clambake at Riverside/Six Flags. On the evening news they had a shot of the affair and it didn't look very crowded, perhaps because it was overcast by noon and raining hard at 6:49pm.

I drove out after 9:30am and deposited checks at Albank, which is now Charter One. Then over to Eamon's, where I left a bag of stuff on his backdoor handle at 10:05am. He had not left a bag for me. Eamon has had his garage door painted green to match his shutters. From there I went up the hill to Liberty Plaza. In where Steiger's and Cherry Webb once were there is now an A.J. Wright. Their bag nicely asks "Who Needs a Sale?" which of course can be taken different ways. Across the front of the store was a banner reading CLEARANCE. When I went in the first thing I saw was a rack with t-shirts marked down to $3.99, which is pretty cheap for a new t-shirt. They were black and white with ugly pictures on them, but ugly is in style.

I have plenty of t-shirts, but I have been wanting a pair of black jeans and I found a pair of black Wrangler jeans in just my size for $7.99. Even in her dreams Mother couldn't beat that, so I bought them. Now I can dress head to toe in all black with no exceptions. Popular Club Plan, which had been over by the former Breckwood Big Y is now up here at Liberty Plaza next door to A.J. Wright. Friendly's is closed, replaced by the fancy 99 Restaurant, which I saw didn't open until 11:30am. I went into Savers and bought a few books, including Mayflower Madam and The Bell Curve.

When I got out of Savers I toddled over to the now open 99 and bought their cheapest burger and a cup of French onion soup. It is a nice restaurant with a long narrow bar. I took a window booth in the front dining area, which is dimly lit with a lot of fake memorabilia on the walls. There are fancy Victorian style signs for businesses that never existed and a few photos of someplace but not Springfield. Both Spaghetti Warehouse and Ruby Tuesday have real memorabilia from Western Mass. While waiting for my order the waitress brought water with a lemon in it and some popcorn. My burger came on a plump roll with crushed lettuce and two small slices of hothouse tomatoes and only two strands of purple onion. The fries were immense, about the size of your thumb and done through. The onion soup was nice though maybe too tame. The bill came to $8.82 and I gave the waitress a twenty and told her to bring me a ten. Not a bad place, but Ruby Tuesday is still tops and Friendly's, let's face it, is the bottom of the bunch.

When I came back I found the Tru-Green invoice on the backdoor handle. As I drove into the driveway I spotted a chipmunk perched on the pole to the back gate. I think I have heard him in the garage. Received the mail from the hand of the mailman at 1:10pm just after I got home. The MLA Directory came, Rothstein and Harth are there, but Henning and Waddington have retired. I feel that those who drop out or retire lack commitment to the profession. True scholars are scholars forever.

Phone ID showed that Eamon called at 11:32am and 12:28pm when I was not home. Eamon called again at 3:35pm and apologized for not having left a bag of reading material for me, but he said he left in a hurry because he was worried about rain. He went downstairs to visit the KayMan tailor Chhugan, who is Pakistani, at Tower Square. Eamon told me he was in the shop for two and a half hours and only one other customer, a woman, briefly stopped in. Eamon says the only reason Kayman has survived is because they have no competition with Lou Dramin and A.O. White gone. He is paying $19 per square foot, which is better than the $33 per foot they charge at Ingleside Mall.

Eamon said he ordered some custom made shirts of Egyptian cotton, 300 threads per inch. It takes about six weeks to have the shirts made to your specifications. The tailor told Eamon that he thinks most Springfield politicians are full of shit. He told Eamon that Anthony Ardolino is a special friend of the Tilly's people who give him special consideration. The tailor also said that business is down all over downtown and claims that in spite of recent renovations, Tower Square is still in financial trouble.

August 24, 2000

Misty this morning, 67 degrees at 9am. Gas at Breckwood Shell is $1.59 per gallon.

WFCR says that over 20% of Montana is closed to the public due to wildfires. Kenneth J. Albano is an attorney who specializes in business, corporate and municipal law. Javanet Cafe on Main Street in Northampton sells BusinessWest. Antiques on Boland Way is involved with the gallery at Tower Square.

Zachary Cohn has never come by to pick up the three boxes of books I had for him. I told him I would swap them for a couple of law books. In reality I suspect that when he realized that I do in fact know what books are worth, he lost interest in talking to me. People are like that, huh? I am reading Mayflower Madam, I seldom read a book that I don't get something useful out of. I sent a postcard with positive comments to the 99 Restaurant, but said they couldn't match Ruby Tuesday's salad bar.

Drove out at 11:00am and copied some things of possible interest to the Rev. Mrs. Goad. Then I dropped them off at the Trinity office with Hebert who said thank you with enthusiasm. Then I headed downtown and parked at the Telephone Worker's Credit Union. I crossed the street and read the morning paper in the lobby of the Springfield Newspapers, then came down Main to the City Block show. They were passing out bottles of water, packages of Teddy Graham cookies and coupons for free slices of cheese pizza at Big Y. I rummaged in the trash and got an extra one. King's Pizza and City Stage were passing out leaflets. Ice cream and hot dogs were the only vendors. The scaffolding is still up on the Johnson's Bookstore Building, where they are scraping the wooden trim on the windows. I wonder if the Johnsons are trying to make their building look its best so they can sell it?

A group called The Dinner Dogs from Pennsylvania performed dressed as chefs with a vocalist in robin's egg blue pants. They did okay for an audience of little kids. Ann Burke was in Tilly's with no signs of Turin. There were four umbrellas up at Tilly's. A UPS man told me that City Block makes it more difficult for him to deliver packages downtown. There are always virtually no blacks at these events. There was a kid on a skateboard, but nobody made any trouble for him even though he skateboarded too close to people. One guy sitting on a bench looked at my locked chain and padlock, then showed me his own saying, "Not many of us around." The general energy level downtown was down. Returning to my car at the Telephone Worker's Credit Union, I went in and deposited several small checks totaling $430.84 with Lucy. On the way back, I swung by Food Mart and got more Hungry Man Dinners on special and once I got home I put a fried chicken one in the microwave. The white Connecticut car was parked in front of Colleen's, so I rang the bell and Colleen's face came to the window and she said she was in her night clothes but will be in town all week and will stop by.

I called Belle-Rita Novak to congratulate her on her picture in the paper, which she had not seen. I told her it is a lovely picture of her at the X Farmer's Market. I promised I would get her two Tuesday Morning Music Club tickets next month. She told me she has been named a Woman of Achievement by the YMCA and naturally I congratulated her. Eamon called and claimed that years ago Ford wanted to build a plant in Springfield but Mass Mutual kept them out because it would have increased pressure to raise wages locally. Other insurance companies that wanted to come here were fended off for the same reason, according to Eamon. Years ago Filene's wanted a downtown store, but Forbes and Steiger's didn't want them in. Eamon closed by repeating that he suspects a lot of Springfield cops are involved in criminal activity.

August 25, 2000

A lovely day. 77 degrees at 1:55pm. Gas at the Boston Road Sunoco is $1.58.

There is a big picture of Francis Gagnon in the paper today attending the Historic Register meeting on Byers Street, which only ten people attended. Gagnon was shown standing in front of the Homer Merriam house at 54 Byers, the former conservatory. My old friend Dick Pious is attending a symposium on Rating the Presidents. Ellie Ochs, Professor of American Studies, is the Chair of the Political Science Department at Barnard College. Neil Rudenstein intends to conclude his tenure as Harvard's 26th President at the end of the 2000-2001 academic year, following a decade of service. Robert G. Stone is the Chair of the Presidential Search Committee. In 1996 Atty. Paul H. Rothschild wrote an article for BusinessWest entitled, "New Sexual Harassment Law Requires Attention."

When I left early this morning the white car was still at Colleen's. I drove down to Lucius' and left him the latest Atlantic Monthly and some WWII poetry. Then over to Walmart to have some camera film developed. From there I swung by Hillcrest Cemetery and asked for a key to the mausoleum for Labor Day. There was a slight bit of foot dragging but he got one and put it on a Hillcrest keychain and that was that. I said they should require people to sign a receipt for the keys but he said none was required. I returned to Walmart where my pictures came out splendidly, however, they were unable to make a copy of the Hillcrest key.

I withdrew $100 from the Bank of Western Mass and from there headed downtown, parked on Salem and walked into the city. Metermaids were at work on Mattoon, where they now have new cobalt blue dumpsters. I copied the registration number of the one outside 18 Mattoon: 99017507. I arrived at City Block at 11:35am and things were pretty quiet. Went around to the City Hall side of Monarch Place, where a black man in a cherry picker was cleaning the stains on the side of the building around the air vents. A sign on the cherry picker read, "United Rentals 1-800-437-3368. After watching for a while, I went back where two girls were sitting at a picnic table by Tilly's. One had a Jewish word hanging in gold around her neck and said she is a student at UMass. The other said she is pursuing a degree in education from the Center for Excellence at Westfield State.

Kristen gave me four more Big Y free pizza coupons which was nice, but that is all the pizza I can use for awhile. They were passing out all the bottles of water you wanted and at one point I saw Turin walk by. There was no ice cream wagon today, I guess one day of lousy sales was enough for them! Only the hot dog wagon remained, meaning all the commercial activity around City Block had gone dead by the last day. At 12:15 I counted noses and there were 105 people listening to a single male vocalist with a keyboard and guitar. There were lots of pedestrians walking north towards Tower Square, but they took no interest in the performance. The City Block noon shows must now be judged an unmitigated flop.

I was back at the car at 12:29pm and then drove over to the Hofbrauhaus in West Springfield. My waitress Carrie brought water but no bread and butter. I asked if the bratwurst came with potatoes and she said no, so I ordered homefries which were wonderful. At the end I gave Carrie $20 and told her to bring me $7 change and keep the difference, but she brought it all back and spilled the coins all over the table. Before I left, I conducted myself on a tour of the place. There is a bar with a stuffed moose head alongside the main dining room, plus some rooms downstairs, meaning they can handle several parties at a time. The place overall is old and dingy with a few old, badly deteriorated oil paintings on the walls. The lighting is by electric candles with little shades over them. The whole place should be closed down and given a complete renovation to brighten it up. The Fort is still the best German restaurant around. Before I departed, I left a quarter on my table.

When I got home, Kelly's car was parked in front of Colleen's and Barry's behind it. I peeked around the hedge and saw Colleen spreading sealer on her driveway, but I ducked back before she saw me. Once settled, I read a little in Mayflower Madam and then took a nap. After I woke up Eamon called and told me he was back at Kayman's this morning to complete measurements for his shirt order. He said Dunkin Donuts in Tower Square had a line of customers but the rest of Tower Square was dead. He said no one came into Kayman's while he was there. The tailor told him that few of the businesses in Tower Square pay full rent and that he is charged nothing for electricity or promotional events. However, he does have to pay for his own parking. There is no maintenance fee.

While he was downtown, Eamon said he had his car inspected at the tire place on Chestnut. The tire guy said he is glad the Exeter Building is coming down because now his place will be visible from Main Street. However, he told Eamon that the demolition has been delayed by the discovery of serious soil contamination on the site. Before heading home Eamon said he drove out to Randall's Farm to get an apple pie. Eamon also recalled that Franklin Bacon, the photographer on Bright Street, is an active Shriner. He then retold how he once sang for Cora Hustis. After Eamon hung up, I called the Hofbrauhaus and got Keith the bartender. I told him that I should get a $2 gift certificate and a letter of apology because I received no bread and butter with my meal. He patiently listened to everything I said, then hung up without replying.

August 26, 2000

A lovely day, 72 degrees at noon.

The media is failing to cover Ralph Nader's presidential campaign adequately. Don Crossman of East Longmeadow frequently writes letters to the Union-News. In 1995 Suzanne Bay wrote a puff-piece article for BusinessWest entitled, "Michael Katz, a Man of Many Talents."

I'm continuing to read The Mayflower Madam, which is a virtual manual on running an escort service. When I left this morning Colleen was out in raspberry shorts painting the trim on her bedroom window. I hope she is not spiffing the place up because they're thinking of moving, but with Colleen you never know. Went to the Boston Road McDonald's, then I dropped two postcards in the Walmart mailbox. Next I drove out to the Cat's Paw but Vince and Claudia are on vacation this week. I then went to Stop&Shop to buy the specials, where I ran into Addie Falk, Mrs. Cerrone's sister. We greeted each other but didn't talk, so I received no thank you for my mailing.

Eamon called and said he saw Robert Turin on a long segment of TV22 news, claiming that City Block has been "a great success" with an empty Main Street in the background. Turin further claimed that that they had "as many as five thousand" at one event, adding that he had no idea whether they would do City Block again next year. People from Westfield Bank and Cafe du Jour were interviewed and expressed disappointment with the City Block turnouts, but the lady from Tilly's described it as "a tremendous success." Eamon accused Turin of exaggerating in order to create "a bandwagon effect" and described Turin as talking "in glittering generalities."

Eamon says he thinks Frank Faulkner teaches at UMass and that it was Richie Neal who got Faulkner's wife Melinda Phelps on the Police Commission. Eamon is mad at Faulkner because he lent him some valuable photos to use in Hungry Hill Magazine and now he fears he will never see them again. Eamon also talked about his friend Billy Schwartz, who gave a lot of money to the symphony. He said the family owns a mansion on Sumner Avenue. Eamon once took a course on eastern culture with Schwartz at AIC. He described Schwartz as "a perpetual student" who was always taking courses at AIC. Schwartz never married and hung around athletes and sporting events. Gay? Eamon didn't know. Eamon claimed that Schwartz knew what was going on behing the scenes in the city to a very high degree, but not as much as Eamon himself. Eamon recalled how Bill Putnam once told him, "I have a staff of fifteen and they can't get me the information you can get in five minutes!" Eamon was indulging in self-praise, but the characterization is accurate.

I had planned on missing the last City Block evening concert, but Eamon's call changed my mind so at 7:19 I decided to set out for downtown and parked at meter 782 on Hillman. The fact that I could find a meter so close was an indication of low attendance. I arrived at 7:55, dusk. Two black men drove up and wanted to park in the non-space in front of me, so I backed up a bit and they were able to park while I still had room to get out. Eurasia was open with only two men at the counter. The scaffolding is gone from the Johnson's Bookstore building.

There wasn't much of a crowd. There was a line of three at the beer wagon, a couple over to the hot dogs. I bought a Doc Otis Hard Lemonade for $3 and was disappointed when they said I couldn't have the bottle and poured it into a Budweiser paper cup. There were 35 in Tilly's and about 450 in front of the concert stage. The crowd was not hard packed, with lots of people towards the back. The sound control console was right in the middle and spotlights were shining down on the front area. There were banners on stage for Budweiser and the Valley Advocate, with 45 lawn chairs set up, fewer than usual. I saw three cops, two of them fat. One of them was talking on a cell phone. I shared my crowd count with the fat cop by the Forbes Fountain who had been eyeing me. He politely thanked me for the figures.

At the corner of Hillman and Main they were passing out green Stearns Square Block Party handouts. Turin was up by the sound control console when I arrived, smoking a pipe. I wondered what Turin was smoking in the pipe, but said nothing. Ann Burke stood in the back area and the man who was with her brought her a beer. He was a white haired lawyer type and I wonder who he was? A Latino fellow arrived and spoke with them for a good while. Eventually I walked up and asked Burke why she wasn't passing out questionnaires and she agreed that they should have been. She told me she has been sending out three sets of questionnaires, one to people in the office buildings, one to restaurants and other businesses to determine impact and a third were passed out to people on the street at the events. I warned her that some people might tell her negative things about me, but she was all smiles and said she enjoyed "the nice memos you send me."

I shared my crowd count with Turin, who was sitting on the cement base of the light box. He didn't grin or thank me and merely grunted. I told him that if he wants to inflate the figures for the media then 800 was acceptable, but I warned him it would be going too far to say "over a thousand." As I left at 8:45pm, a man asked me the way to Memorial Avenue in West Springfield and I told him. Home at 8:56pm.

August 27, 2000

83 degrees at 6pm. Gas going up for Labor Day, $1.58 at Cumberland Farms on Boston Road.

Two Guys Discount Department Store was on Boston Road in 1970. Spent an hour going through some of Father's things and found a 1972 receipt from the H. Klempner Company on Bridge Street, where Father had a cuff link repaired. Mother saved virtually every single price tag off of everything she ever purchased. There are boxes of them in her closet, it's such a curiosity I don't dare throw them out...yet.

I drove out today at 9:30am and had an Egg McMuffin at McDonald's on Boston Road where I read the morning paper. It had a Larry McDermott editorial saying that Mayor Charlie Ryan was responsible for cutting off the riverfront with I-91, which should have been built on the other side of the river. I'll bet the reason for wanting the road on this side of the river was the vain hope that people would see downtown and want to get off to go shopping. It's just like they hope people will see the new Basketball Hall of Fame and get off and go in.

I drove over to Dot Lortie's Open House at 1098 Plumtree Road, Larenzo J. Larson's house. Larson is the man who built my house and he's been mentioned in this diary before. When new, his house would have gone for around thirty thousand. The first floor is really nice, the basement is clean and dry but unfinished. There is a two car garage and an enclosed breezeway, plus a not so big living room with a fireplace. The bathroom is unusually wide with a double sink. The house is a couple of years older than mine and was always painted yellow. In all, Larson had a pretty nice house for himself. From there I went to Pride in the Acres and made a few copies, then to Big Y to use one of my City Block coupons for a free slice of pizza and soda. The girl said it would be ready in twenty minutes but it only took ten. It was good, but plain cheese pizza can get somewhat boring. Stopped at a couple tag sales, but bought nothing. Arrived home at 4:57 pm.

A Bill Chsanno in Watertown, who works for Eastern Advertising, called looking for a donation to the Police Association. I told him I'm unemployed. Eamon called and we chatted for half an hour. He recalled how his brother and sisters wanted to put his mother in a nursing home but he resisted. Eamon's niece, Merriam's daughter, runs the Pine Manor nursing home up the road, but after inspecting it Eamon would not let his mother go there. We talked a little about Marshall Moriarty's campaign for Governor's Council. Eamon predicted that Moriarty "will get his head handed to him" because incumbent Eddie O'Brien has been in there too long. Eamon described O'Brien as "a good reason for term limits" and suggested that Governor's Councilors should be limited to one six year term.

Eamon doesn't think Charlie Ryan is back from vacation yet. He said McDermott was right in his column today, Charlie Ryan was partly responsible for the unfortunate decision to put the expressway on this side of the river, resulting in the tearing down of a lot of buildings that should have been saved. He also blamed Ryan for the building of the Civic Center. Eamon described the moving of Tech and Classical out of downtown as a racist decision designed to get the minority students out of downtown. Someone Eamon knew who worked in Steiger's told him that they were swamped with kids when the high schools got out, but when the schools moved out there were no new customers coming in to take their place, forcing Steiger's and others to go out of business, the victim of their own racism and stupidity.

Eamon recalled how Mr. Cassella told him that the high schools could have been restored at a fraction of what it cost to replace them. He noted how they were able to put condos on the top floor of Classical, which had been closed when it was a school because it was supposedly uninhabitable. Tech and Classical had been condemned as "fire traps" and unfit to be occupied by students for six or seven hours per day, but after they closed they were suddenly declared capable of renovation for 24 hour a day habitation.

August 28, 2000

Somewhat misty this morning.

In crankiness is the only sanity.

Jane Swift is now the state's Education Czar. She pulled the "working mother defense" when she was found to have acted unethically in having state employees babysit for her, but anyone with a position like hers should've been able to hire a nanny. WFCR said today that Philemon Parker, who died in Chester, Vermont 150 years ago, has been given a new headstone. Sandra Feldman, President of the American Federation of Teachers, was on TV Sunday evening saying she is opposed to the "instant teacher" programs some states have. Naturally I thought of Helen Miller. I waste too much space in this diary on news.

Maueal S. Miller called and said they would be coming on Saturday, September 2nd, but not staying overnight. Very friendly, but sounded rehearsed. Martha didn't feel too good last week but feeling better now. Joseph Kochandwicz owned the Poli Jewelry Company on Bridge Street in 1973. Bradlees was on Boston Road in 1974. I participated in the City of Springfield Street Tree Inventory Project in 1995. Mike Andrews was Chairman and Director of the Jimmy Fund of Western Massachusetts in 1995. Paul R. Salvage was senior partner with the Springfield Law Firm of Bacon & Wilson in 1996.

I dined today on Stouffer's Meatballs and Noodles. While sorting over some books to give Helen, I found a book related to Christopher Columbus Little Stories of Explorers (1935) by Laura A. Large. Shall I alert Leonard Collamore and his mythical Columbus Collection? Today I wrote to Marshall Moriarty, the University of Vermont and the Scholar's Bookshelf. I called Mr. Lucius and he will come over without his wife at 2pm Tuesday. So I got out the white paint and touched up the breezeway and picked up the garden waste. I got two tomatoes from the plants I got from the guy at Trinity. I gave one to Sweet Pea and one to Honey Pot.

After tying up the branches and putting them out, I drove down to Gateway for copies and to pick up my photos. There was nobody at Colleen's, but when I got back the white Connecticut car was again parked the wrong way in front of the house. The mail brought a postcard of Gilbert Haven Cottage on Martha's Vineyard. I called Collamore but no answer. Someone called and asked, "Is Bob there? I'm sorry, I got the wrong number." I moved my typewriter off the dining room table and am using the Smith-Corona portable in the basement.

Eamon called and said Charlie Ryan is still out of town. Eamon got a renewal notice from the Irish group at Elms, but he's not renewing. Eamon said Steve Burke the fireman is anxiously awaiting the results of his bar exam. Burke is presently interning with Mary Hurley. Eamon told me that he chatted with Larry Humphries who ran the Little Gallery and danced at Jacob's Pillow and knew Ted Shaw the founder. Humprhies called downtown Springfield "a wasteland" and said he personally knew Carlo Marchetti whom he "never thought much of."

August 29, 2000

Bright, sunny and cool.

You can call me Gentleman Stinker, but somebody has to tell people how to do things correctly.

The World Conference on Spirituality has excluded the Dali Lama at the request of China. So much for catching the spirit! George Bush Jr. says such stupid things that he is a disgrace to the Republican Party. There is no reason why we should elect a second President Bush anymore than we should elect a second President Kennedy. WFCR says the University of Vermont has paid a settlement of $80,000 to a former hockey player in a hazing scandal. Former 1999 City Council candidate Scott D. Santaniello has admitted he stole a motorcycle in 1995. The Springfield Science Museum has received accreditation from the American Association of Museums. Starting Sept. 1st the Springfield Museums at the Quadrangle will expand operating hours and increase fees, according to publicist Sara Orr.

The East Longmeadow Planning Board unanimously approved a new building to house W.F. Young's marketing and sales headquarters. Northampton schools have been named among the 100 best school systems in America. The Village Store in the center of Wilbraham is now vacant. Dot Lortie Realty is located on White Street in Springfield. The Hofbrauhaus is on Main Street in West Springfield. Sally L. Gula of Chicopee, who worked at the former Vee's Beauty Shop in Ware, died recently at age 88. Lorenzo J. Larson died in 1997.

Friendly's stock is at 3.93, Woronoco is at 12.37. Every week there is a story about how something we were told not to do isn't so bad for you after all, like a little wine is good for the heart. Stop&Shop sells its brand of milk for $1.59 per half gallon. I never buy Hoods unless a coupon makes it cheaper than other brands. There is no finer advertisement than a quality product that is competitively priced. Drove out to get the paper at 12:40pm and Mrs. Penniman was out with another lady and waved. Her husband hasn't been out lately, sitting in the garage as he did at the start of summer.

I own 15,000 books, the largest private library in Springfield. I do not own a computer. Our slide projector was purchased September 1, 1952 from Valley Cinema on State Street across from AIC. The price was $34.50. We were pretty proud of it and never abused it, so it still looks as good as new. We had to install a new bulb once and it was very expensive. Bob Turin was on TV saying that City Block was a big success and cost $225,000 to put on. TV22 had Ernie Bates on again talking about insurance. For years whenever they interview an insurance expert it has been Ernie Bates, so I called TV22 and got Robert in the newsroom. I told him they should spread their favors around and I also told him that computer and electronic media encourages sloppiness in the presentation of text. He replied, "Okay, I'll pass it on." Unknown called at 7:08pm.

Colleen has a bush growing up all around her mailbox. The street sweeper went by sometime this morning. Did two loads of wash today, took a bath, pushed around the vac and got out a few books to show Lucius. Federal Express delivered 350 shares of Ford stock inside the backdoor while I was in the bathroom. What will it be worth after the Firestone mess? I dined on Stouffer's Veal Parmigiana before Lucius came. Richard Lucius, age 76, arrived at 2pm and I served him a little glass of sherry. Lucius is a tall, thin, fine gentleman. His English is impeccable but he speaks no French or Latin. His great grandfather Patrick Bradley wrote A Soldier's Story of which he has a copy and he was disappointed to discover it is worth only around $75. I showed him my cartoon of Melvin Laird and the State Street Mall cartoons.

Lucius told me he grew up on White Street in the shadow of a brother seven years older who was a star student. His parents expected him to be as good as his brother but he couldn't do it. Therefore, his big brother got a lot more attention and praise than he did. Lucius said that he used to play chess at Winchester Square a lot when he was a kid and there was an old Scotsman who could beat anybody. However, one year Lucius beat him and won a prize of a silver cup and a box of cigars, but because of his age he got cash equal to what the cigars were worth. Lucius told me, "We need more chess heroes and fewer sports heroes. Chess is about math and reasoning."

He joined the Marines at the age of 17, which his father wasn't too happy about. Lucius said that when he got to Parris Island he could see real differences between kids from different parts of the country, with New York kids having street smarts the southern boys did not. He said he was in a heavy weapons unit that saw a lot of action. I asked him how many of his buddies never made it back and he just sat silently with his head bowed so I changed the subject. At one point in his military career he went to China and saw the Great Wall. After the war he became a printer's helper and worked all kinds of presses including one like my Chandler&Price. He later worked for the Fire Department and pursued his interest in falconry on the side. At age 42 he had to have an operation to remove some of his stomach.

Lucius remarked that the Hall of Fame was supposed to pay a portion of its profits to the city, only there hasn't been any profits! He scoffed at the city's attempts at urban renewal, saying urban renewal must happen gradually and by itself, without government interference. Lucius said he believes in God but doesn't like the way the Catholic Church bosses people around. In his opinion some people are just born bad. I talked a little about poetry and he mentioned Gray's Elegy. At the end I urged him to write a little autobiography for his children.

Eamon's new phone editorial goes, "With 100,000 visitor a year, the Basketball Hall of Fame is the least attended Hall of Fame in the nation. It has not been the economic generator promised by our local planners and politicians. The New England Sports Museum in Boston attracts 600,000 visitors a year. It's a mystery how much money the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield is losing every year."

August 30, 2000

A lovely day.

Springfield City Hall is full of too many people who know somebody but not something.

In the middle of the night at 2:32am the power went off for just a second. Paul Dearden is Vice President of Investments for A.G. Edwards and Sons. My former neighbor and old friend Dr. Claudia Koppelman, one of the few solo practitioners around, had her picture in the paper in 1998 checking the heart of her patient Eugene W. Piela of Chicopee in her Holyoke office. Julian de Cordova's art collections were so densely packed that viewers could barely see the walls.

I am going to give Helen Grandmother's favorite picture that she gave me years ago. Read newspapers this morning. The Turin segment from last night was re-run at noon, probably also in the early morning but I seldom watch then. There's a lot of hype for the Big E, which is the fifth largest fair in America, generating over $100 million in revenue. The news also had someone on saying that the best proof of development in the valley is that there are six new hotels going up. Another story told about a floating island in Island Pond that has drifted to a location that has nearby residents mad. A person on a "Reflexology" advertisement asked, "What have you got to lose by giving it a try? Answer: MONEY.

Dined today on ravioli and tomatoes on toast. Mid-afternoon I found a box inside the back door which UPS had left from Jordan Luttrell with Mr. Bumpkins Lawsuit in it. I called Odyssey and they buy used books, but not until after the school year gets underway. Payment by cash or credit slip. Mrs. Berselli called at 11:45am and she just got out of Baystate and won't be back up to speed for a couple of weeks. She will call back when she feels better. I am taking notes on her in my notebook and already have a few good tidbits.

I called Mrs. Staniski and told her I won't be coming by this week. She said Noonan Oil wants her to sign a contract to replace her leaking tank. Then I called Mrs. Hall's School in Pittsfield and talked to Felicity. She told me they only teach grades 9 through 12. Sheila Reneberg called from Verizon Internet Services and asked whether I use the internet. I said I have 15,000 books so I have no use for the internet. I asked her if she knows how many businesses there are in the USA and she didn't know. I told her if I gave every one of them the amount of time I've given to you, I'd never get anything done. I instructed her to never call here again and she politely agreed. Unknown rang at 4:30pm.

August 31, 2000

Overcast and misty, getting more humid.

Wesley Snipes stars as a covert officer working for the United Nations in The Art of War. Sister Keating is retiring at Elms. They need someone young and vivacious, Sister K always projected an old and dumpy look. There's a picture of Jack Hess in the new Reminder attending a fundraiser for the East Longmeadow Historical Society. Good for him, Jack Hess is an unsung hero of Springfield history. Frances Gagnon published her History of the Eastern States Exposition in 1998.

I left the Herald for the Penniman's, then visited with Mr. Cohn. A van was parked on his beautiful front grass to install a new front storm door. I took some leftover driveway patch to Colleen, who has been working her butt off since she got home. Colleen has had a tough life and she has faced it with toughness. Then I drove out to Hillcrest Cemetery to take some photos. After that, I drove over to the Freihoffer store, but found it doesn't open until 11:30, so I went to the Eastfield Mall to get my free back to school kit. Eastfield looks wonderful now with lots of new stores. Donovan's Irish Pub is in the area where we signed up for jobs at Lowe's. Donovan's has mahogany beams, green walls and, of all things, 50's cocktail shakers. Down the other end of the mall, the 99 Restaurant has a Help Wanted sign up but isn't open yet.

I went into Friendly's and there were only eight customers at 11:35, yet even then nobody showed any interest in helping me, so I left. I was at Ruby Tuesday at 11:45am and counted noses and there were 36 customers. When I got home, I had fun by calling Friendly's and got a receptionist who said, "I'm new on the job," so she had to ask around to answer questions she should have had on the tip of her tongue. Twice I was put on hold for a long time until finally I was connected to Debbie Burns in charge of stockholder relations. However, Debbie was out so I asked for the President or his secretary and actually got Felicia. She was polite and said she knows me from the stockholder meetings. I told Felicia the headcounts at Friendly's and Ruby Tuesday and told her that the company is dead because Ozzie and Harriet are dead and times have moved on. I said Friendly's lack of a salad bar is killing them, not to mention Ruby Tuesday's superior ambiance and authentic memorabilia. I also tol her that I am surprised they hired the head of the failed Boston Chicken, I said I prefer to get my chicken at Stop&Shop. She replied, "Some people like the old fashioned ice cream shop." Ho-hum.

The mail was delivered at 1:40 to my hand. At 5:28pm, Corliss Welch called, effervescent as always, and we talked until 6:19. She said she feels guilty for not thanking me for the book I sent her inscribed to her as a "soulmate." However, she told me she has had "a bitch of a year" and was too busy. She said the Principal retired early and as second in command she got stuck with the job but no title or payraise. Eventually they hired "a lovely, fat old Irish Catholic to fill in temporarily but she still did most of the work. They finally hired a black fellow who is so slow she has to explain things to him over and over again. At the end of the year she did the entire class schedule for the entire school, grades six through eight. She gave up directiing the annual play but still advices the Student Council. Welch is in her 32nd year of teaching, ever since she was 21, and she feels burned out and then some. Surgery on her foot put her out for five weeks. She said her mom is "83 and still swinging." I told Corliss to visit anytime.

On the news they had more on the police rape case, with Minister Mohammad shown with Michaelann Bewsee telling of other women who have come forth with tales of being raped by the police. One woman claimed she had been raped in a police cruiser in the police station parking lot. Eamon called and at one point used the expression, "Why buy the cow when you're getting the milk for free?" Eamon said he heard that Mary Hurley's sister, a school Principal, has a reputation for being "a complete fool." Eamon also talked about his jeweler friend Dave Downey, with whom he used to drink at Nardi's. Eamon sang at this wedding to Fran Godek at St. Stan's. Fran was an AIC graduate. Eamon told Downey that, "If this marriage lasts a year I'll buy you a dinner." Sure enough, Downey soon found out she was seeing Professor Goodman the casino expert. Downey threw her out and she ended up having a child by Goodman.