March 2000

March 2, 2000


WFCR is having their March fund drive. The news says Mayor Albano is withdrawing his request for $4 million in state funding. TV22 also said that four thousand parking tickets have been handed out downtown so far this year, with someone shown promising that "those who park illegally in downtown Springfield will pay the price." That's a real good way to drive people out of downtown, for sure. The 112 year old Cherry & Webb is liquidating by April 1st. They have a store in Longmeadow and had one at Liberty Plaza where Steiger's was. The also had one at Eastfield Mall but they closed. I always wanted one of their gift coins but not at the prices they charged.

Read newspapers until midnight last night. Jordan Luttrell wants to sell me Fragmenta Antiqua and I guess I'll have to buy it. Went out and there were no Valley Advocates at Louis & Clark. I did run into Officer Bobby Brown, who is the president of the retired cops and firefighters organization. He described himself as "Protestant and over 70." He wants to start a recall petition against the Mayor and described Albano as "a bully." He said he has filed a Freedom of Information request on the finances of the Basketball Hall of Fame but they have stonewalled him for years. I told Brown I collect manuscripts of historical significance and if he has any I hope he will think of adding them to my archives. Brown also told me he once appealed his taxes and got a substantial refund.

From there I went to the Quadrangle and left my letter for Hamilton with the Pynchon receptionists before pausing briefly in Rice Hall. Next I went to the AIC Library and looked through the Chronicle, which has not published my letter. While I was standing there reading, a short man dressed in brown came up to me and asked, "Are you Attorney Miller?" I replied, "Yes, but who are you?" He replied, "I am Arthur Gingras, a teacher at the High School of Commerce and a friend of Eamon T. O'Sullivan." We stepped into a seminar room and chatted for ten minutes. He told me he once visited with John Silber in Boston and asked me some questions about the fall of Monarch. Before we parted Gingras told me he lives on West Silver Street in Westfield.

Back home, I spent some time reading, then dined on apple cider, Stouffer's Lasagna and cauliflower. Unknown rang and when I picked up it was voiceless. "Who are you?" I asked. "Your failure to speak is discourteous." Eamon called and said he got me some McCain for President literature from their headquarters at Converse Carlisle. He also got a McCain button and some plastic signs. Eamon also told me he had a talk with Charlie Ryan. Charlie told Eamon that he is too old to run for mayor and there are too many problems. Ryan accused Albano of "leaving a terrible mess for the next mayor to clean up."

Fred Whitney called while I was out. I read Tom Devine's essay Mayor Albano Should Resign, which is very well written. I called Devine and he told me his cold is somewhat better and that he usually communicates with Mo Turner by email rather than phone. He also told me he is going to the McCain rally in Boston Saturday with Mitch Ogulewicz. Eamon informed me that Charlie Ryan is going as well. Tom then asked me if I was working the polls Tuesday and when I asked why he asked he replied, "They're desperate for help." Devine said the tax on his house jumped, but they didn't appeal it "because it's useless." I told him no, not at all, and told him how Eamon claims he always wins his appeals. We then tried to list all the lawsuits that have been brought against the Albano Administration, such as Gerry Daniele's $100,000 settlement and the $700,000 paid in the Schoolfield case.

March 3, 2000

38 degrees and sunny at 8:15am. Gas at the corner of Alden and Wilbraham Road $1.49 per gallon.

The full name of Monarch in 1930 was The Monarch Accident Insurance Company. Although dead, Mother is still getting mail. Serenade Chocolatier is at 5 Harvard Square, Brookline. Tracy Fleming is Customer Service Manager at the Bank of Western Massachusetts on State Street.

Listened to WFCR in the morning as always. They are calling themselves "exemplary radio, radio at its best." That is correct. Their news said President Clinton had promised to connect all of U.S. students to the internet by the year 2000 but only 78% are in fact connected. The problem with Clinton is, despise him though you may, what's he done that's so wrong? Mike Albano would like to be like him but Albano is no Clinton. J. Carvalho was on saying that the Seuss statues have been delayed. Makes you wonder if they are short on money or experiencing cost overruns, but they're not talking about those issues yet.

The stock market is up, GE is finally over what I paid. I went to the Bank of Western Mass to get the money to pay Luttrell. Mrs. Maggi is always very friendly. I also left left an envelope with Greg Michael at WNEC. Wood framings are going up on the corner of Parker and Boston Road in front of the former Edwards, but there's no sign telling what it will be. Then I drove into the city and parked in front of the Baptist Church as usual. Down the hill to the Chamber of Commerce where I bought a Chambers Channels ticket for next Wednesday. I also left off some items for Russ Denver with Linda, including info about my new book, pictures of Tibetan art and my Best Teacher application.

From there I crossed the street to Monarch Place and left some Italian stuff for Peter Picknelly with the new security guy Roberto. Into Fleet where I was told that their special rates offer had ended and was only for people with Fleet Gold Accounts. I visited the Boland Way Antique Shop, which had a sale on Springfield themed souvenir glassware and crockery, but I buy only metal. In Tower Square, the U.S. Factory Outlet had about twenty racks of clothing and two registers open. Factory Outlets is being permitted to display merchandise at the center court among Spaghetti Freddy's, Dunkin' Donuts and Hannoush Jewelers, which is a sure sign that business is bad and they may be on their way out. Passing through Tower Square there were some shoppers but not a crowd.

It was pretty raw out so I didn't do much walking around outdoors as the day got progressively wintry. When I got home, I warmed up some leftover fish and chips. There was a lot of mail, including seven pieces for carol R. Dana at 22 Jeffrey Road. I called Gordon McKellick, a postal police officer, and he said he would send an envelope to return it in.

Called Aunt Maria's house and her phone still rings but no one answers. So I called Heritage Hall and Lisa answered and I asked her how Maria Giroux is doing. She replied, "I'm looking at her right now." I asked about her appetite and she said "picky." As for visitors, she said Aunt Maria has had a few, all women. I then inquired whether she thought Aunt Maria may be coming home soon and she replied, "I do not." She also described Aunt Maria's mental state as "varying from day to day, sometimes good, sometimes not so good." Later, Unknown called but I didn't answer because I was napping.

Eamon has a new phone editorial calling for Mayor Albano's resignation. I called him and Eamon complained that his Cadillac forces him to spend more on gas. Eamon said he was up at Ingleside Mall for two hours today, describing the mall as well filled with people. While there he looked at watches at Penny's, then went to Hannoush to examine their top of the line watches. Eamon asked how their Tower Square store is doing and the clerk exclaimed, "Terrible!" I then told Eamon about my postal problems and he said his mailman Randy doesn't arrive until 4:45pm. Eamon said Gingras the teacher called him and told him that the Oriental and Russian students at Commerce do wonderfully because they have a great work ethic and love learning. Most Hispanic students, however, have little interest in academics.

March 5, 2000

Sunny and 34 degrees at 6:30am. Gas at Cumberland Farms on Boston Road is $1.46.

My throat still bothers me, but overall I feel better. The snow is just about all melted. All this grief counseling they have today for kids is bad. When I was a kid the Sangers died and nothing was made of it. In High School I went to Helen Flanagan's funeral but not L.W. Smith's. No counseling. I fear counseling may rub the grief in rather than relieving it. My Father put a window in the garage out in Wilbraham so that Lizzie our Model T would have a view of the river. Father lived in a simpler world of goodness, where romantic sentimentalism was still possible.

I drove out and left a copy of the Wall Street Journal on Tom Devine's back steps. Got stuff at Angelo's, which has been somewhat rearranged. They have new cash registers and the floor plan has been changed so that you have to go to the back to get the fruit and then have to pass the regularly priced vegetables to get to the bargain ones. Had hotcakes and sausage at the Boston Road McDonald's, then headed to the Goodwill where I bought two used books and mailed my order to Luttrell in the mailbox in front. The mail brought a thank you note for the pictures of the steeple raising from Matthew Burt at the Evangelical Covenant. Dealing with him takes up time and psychic energy, but research is what I am about and as a conservative Christian he fell for my stuff hook, line and sinker.

When I got home I raked the backyard. For supper I had the chicken I got at Food Mart and cooked it with onions and potatoes in the microwave. I also spent three hours cleaning out Mother's closet and putting things aside for the Goodwill. In the news, Rev. Ann Geer is stepping down as head of the Council of Churches because of a back problem. On TV40 Tommy Reilly was on talking about "the need to tell the truth" about the real costs of the Big Dig. He said "people have not been candid." Joe Malone is a mess as Treasurer, Weld is a mess as Governor and the Republicans have made a mess of the Big Dig. Republicans always boast that they can handle money, but can they?

Eamon called and said he heard that a lot of local political people are going to McCain's rally in Boston today. We also discussed CANE, which Eamon praised. At one point Eamon referred to David and Larry at the paper as "Toots" Starr and "Twinkles" McDermott. Eamon complained that McDermott's columns are well written but too biased. He said McDermott is not stupid, but his intelligence makes him dangerous because he might actually carry out his ideas. McDermott's latest column complains about over population, but his paper is always pushing economic development, which brings more people. I asked Eamon if he had a nickname for me and he replied, "Gabby Miller." I exclaimed, "Oh no, I want my nickname to be "Sucker." Eamon insisted, "Your nickname is Gabby Miller and it can't be anything else."

March 6, 2000

38 degrees at 6:30am.

On WFCR Priscilla Drucker said that "funding Public Radio is messy, but that's good because democracy is messy." There was also a segment about how meningitis can be spread through saliva. "Don't share drinks!" they exclaimed, which made me think of the rite of Holy Communion among Episcopals.

Mother was always a nut for putting clothes hangers on every door from which they could be suspended. I have removed all of them and can now close her closet door, which never completely closed due to the hangars.

Out at 9:10am and was fortunate to find today's paper in the Louis & Clark trashcan. I ran into Officer Brown, who said he was on Western Mass Genological Society business. After putting out my mailing to the WNEC chaplains, I went across Breckwood Boulevard to get a doughnut with strawberry frosting at Dunkin Donuts. Professor Anzalotti was there, saying he was on his way to work. He said he was surprised not to run into me at the the poll worker orientation meeting the other night. I told him I would not be working the polls due to a personal matter. He told me, "We're going to miss you a lot." I replied, "Mr. Anzalotti, you are one of the finest gentlemen it has been my privilege to know." On my way out I ran into Mr. Wilson the UPS man and we exchanged pleasantries.

Then to Evangelical Covenant to leave some photo negatives with Sharon. Next I headed to the Goodwill and dropped off several bags of Mother's clothes. All the regular workers were there except Patty. When I got home, I trimmed the hedges by the blackberries and picked up dead branches. This is the first serious exercise I've done in some time. The mail came at 1:15pm and included a postcard from Fred Whitney warning that I would lose my position as a poll worker if I don't contact him immediately. I also got a catalog from Lawbook Exchange and will order The Taproot Lawyer by Michael Thomas (1959). Tonight I dined on a Healthy Choice meal of potatoes and ham. There wasn't much to it and the picture on the box was misleading. You can be sure I will complain.

March 7, 2000

Sunny, mild day, 35 degrees at 7:30am.

Today was Super Tuesday and in Massachusetts John McCain beat G.W. Bush as Al Gore beat Bill Bradley. The Catholic Church is going to have a Day of Forgiveness this Sunday in which it is apologizing for all the injustices it may have committed against women, minorities, indigenous people and also for the Crusades and Inquisition. Well.

On WFCR, Madeline Brown had a story on the rise in the number of foster children. They also had a story about how Vermont has turned down a pipeline to Rutland. At one point they crowed that The Today Show reaches only 4.9 million people each morning, but National Public Radio reaches 8.8 million people daily. They also said they try to "respect your intelligence" in their stories, something we rarely get from the Springfield Newspapers.

Betsy Lowenstein is the Library Director for the Nantucket Historical Association. Wolf & Company is a certified public accounting firm with offices in Boston and Springfield. I left for the Tuesday Morning Music Club concert at 10:05am and parked on Massachusetts Avenue. The club officers spoke using a microphone and you could see that a lot of the men in attendance wore hearing aids. Do men have bad hearing more than women? Clearly there are more men members now than a decade ago, when it was primarily an old ladies' group. Yet, I was still one of the youngest people there. They served several trays of assorted cookies without providing napkins. Mrs. Staniski was there but left at the break.

On my way home I stopped to vote at Glickman. Durham Caldwell was standing outside leaning on a sign for Senator Bradley. He has been more friendly and pleasant ever since the time I made fun of him on the phone. The Cohn's were just leaving the polls as I arrived, she seemed to be walking with a limp. There were only two elderly ladies working the polls, I was voter #86.

When I got home I called Mrs. Staniski and asked her why she left the concert early and she said she had a lot of errands to do. She told me that she was "appalled" to see Mary Alice Stusick and her husband sitting in the front row, noting that they are "too busy to go to church but not too busy to go to concerts." I said I hoped she wasn't appalled by the way I was dressed and she said no, that times have changed and today anything goes. She did add that she is glad that she has two "red-blooded American grandsons who are into life."

Called Heritage Hall about Aunt Maria. They say she wants to come home and has said so repeatedly. Nurse Laura told me that Aunt Maria had no visitors today and is still forgetful and unsteady on her feet. She did say that Shirley comes all the time. I told Laura that Aunt Maria's birthday is on March 23 and that she always celebrates St. Patrick's Day.

On the evening news Tom Brokaw talked about rising telephone rates and fees, saying that American phone users are getting "nickled and dimed" by the phone companies. Eamon called and told me Moore is taking an exam to become a contractor, but he only wants big jobs and wouldn't want to bother with my little ones. Eamon then recalled how he rode into Boston a few times on the bus with Peter Picknelly, who told him that he has to pay $100,000 to insure each bus. Eamon then expressed delight that his latest answering machine editorial attacking Albano has gotten a lot of calls, including ones from the Basketball Hall of Fame, City Hall and from state and county offices.

March 8, 2000

A person on TV said that Sen. Bill Bradley is losing because he's too boring and speaks with a "passionless, Spock-like vibe." The estimated cost of Boston's Big Dig in 1993 was $6.4 billion dollars. Now it is $12.2 billion and counting. Harold E. Quackenbush, manager of the Ocean State Job Lot store on Boston Road in Springfield, is featured in an article by Patricia Norris about orange prison jumpsuits available at $4 apiece. There was no ad for Hampden Savings Bank in last Sunday's paper. USA Town and Country Recycling is located in East Windsor, Connecticut. Antoine V. Wilson is a Postal Inspector in Springfield.

While raking the backyard today I saw three crocuses in bloom, one snowdrop and lots of blooming daffodils. Irving Cohn came by and we had a good chat. He said Zachary is in Prague trying to buy illuminated manuscripts from churches but they don't want to sell. Mr. Cohn politely tried to feel me out on my political orientation. He doesn't like conservatives and feels America owes its greatness to the openness of our universities. We both agreed that long term trends favor liberalism. I brought in my McCain for President sign, the nice plastic one with the wire frame, and added it to my collection of political signs.

I called the Bushnell Box Office and asked if the Bushnell has an organ, but the guy who answered, who sounded like he's from India, said he didn't know. Ashley Shea of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission called from West Springfield. She told me she has only lived in the area for about two years. Ashley is so sweet that I told her I would send her some Tuesday Morning Music Club tickets. Eamon's new phone answering machine editorial talks about "The Albano Difference" just as I suggested. Eamon says his tax consultant told him that since he can no longer claim his mother as a dependent he will have to pay more in taxes. Eamon said he got a phone call from John Smith in Washington about the material he sent them on Commerce and said he would forward it to someone named Richard Rafa for further examination.

At about 3:15pm I headed out to the Chamber Channels meeting being held at the new Channel 22 building in Chicopee. First I sent out some mail in the box in front of the Goodwill. Then I headed over to Ocean State Job Lot, parking by Lowe's, but they were completely sold out of prison jumpsuits. I left a message with Colleen to call me when they got more. I then headed over to the Liberty Ocean State Job Lot where they had three so I bought one. As I was leaving I ran into Mo Jones and he asked why he didn't see me working the polls. I told him it was "a personal matter." While I was out that way I went to Savers and then dropped off material at Eamon's. I told Eamon about the little crack in my new driveway and Eamon suggested I complain loudly and demand that they patch it at once.

From there I drove to Chicopee and was amazed to see the TV22 parking lot totally full. I ended up parking on the road behind the place near some abandoned railroad tracks. The station is ideally located, come off the expressway on the left and the station is the first left down the road. I wore my "Raising Hell is My Business and Business is Good" t-shirt. There were maybe 200 people there, the place was so packed you could barely move.

There were pastel colored balloons all around which was quite nice, and several NBC banners hanging on the walls. I spotted one security guard. In the middle of the room was a long table with an ice sculpture of the NBC peacock and the WWLP logo. They had veggies and fancy bread bits and all kinds of cheese and crackers. The prize attraction was some good size shrimp, but I only had one because I'm not all that crazy about shrimp. They also had stuffed mushroom caps and cheese filled pastry balls. No fruit. Coffee served along with brownies and raspberry strudel. There was a cash bar and catering was done by White Gloves, whose employees I have never seen wearing white gloves. I took a plate of goodies to a man in a wheelchair, he thanked me but never ate it.

Sy Becker was there chatting with Russ Denver. Lefkowitz and another 22 official were talking for a long time. I recall how Lefkowitz sent me a nice letter after I corrected their copyright notice. I noted Sally C. Fuller, the Chair of the Chamber of Commerce Teaching Excellence Awards. I also saw Suzanne R. Cloud of Bottaro-Skolnick and asked her if they were giving tours of the building. She said that they were planning to but because so many people came they were not. I had hoped that at least we'd be able to see their broadcast studio. I saw Bill Pepin chatting with a group so I got down on my knees and whined, "Please let us see your new building, please, pretty please?" Pepin and the others laughed, but no luck.

Roy Scott was there and jovially introduced me to the people he was with as "an individualist." I spoke with Pendergast the financial consultant. He told me he was raised Catholic, but switched to Protestant because he didn't like the Catholic rituals. I buttonholed a TV22 employee, Account Executive Lowell McLane, and asked him about the building. He said it has no basement and there is a large garage outback. I asked about their archives and he said most of it goes back only about 15 years. They have almost no tapes of the 1950's and 60's, but Rollie Jacobs saved a lot of sports material and they contact him when they need old sports footage. At one point I made some negative comments about the Springfield Newspapers and how their news is distorted and inaccurate and he nodded in agreement. I stayed until 7pm hoping they might let a few of us see the rest of the building but alas they did not. The TV22 Chamber party was memorable, but not all it could have been with booklets and tours.

Home at 7:45pm. On the evening news Anita Wilson mispronounced the word "presidential."

March 10, 2000

Lots of fog and 47 degrees at 8am.

The Nasdaq closed above 5000 today. Women are now 46% of the workforce. America will soon be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. The completion date of the Basketball Hall of Fame has been pushed back, just like the Quad Dr. Seuss park. Student Advisor Lucille Zukowski was one of my favorite people at Colby, very friendly, professional and with impeccable English. Her husband Walter worked in the Business Administration Department, with which I had no dealings. The Regal Bostonian Hotel is located in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace. The pair of falcons are back nesting at Monarch Place.

High School kids in Holyoke are working to make a virtual reality tour of the Wistariahurst, claiming it will be be "possible to take a trip to Wistariahurst Museum without even leaving home." I've told the Pilgrim Society they should do something similar, in ten years who is going to travel to tourist destinations except by internet? Received a letter from Russell Denver thanking me for nominating Eamon O'Sullivan for a Teaching Excellence Award. I called the Springfield Business Improvement District and asked to be put on their mailing list. At one point they asked if I was The Twig Painter. Also got a wrong number from someone looking for the offices of Kenneth Stoll, a New York City investment firm.

My lower right tooth aches, so I made an appointment via Kelly with Dr. Gianetti for Tuesday at 11:30am. Tonight I ate spaghetti with hamburg and potatoes. They will be recruiting census workers at Eastfield Mall on Sunday afternoon. If they want to attract minorities why not in Memorial or Mason Square? I went out at 9:55am and left some magazines on the Cohn's doorknob, then to the Allen Street McDonald's for a 99 cent sausage McMuffin. Next I made copies at Pride and put out a lot of mail at the Breckwood Shops. I saw Mrs. Boyle as I came out of Louis & Clark and she waved as she got into her little white car. Next I dropped off a copy of Boston Magazine at Tom Devine's, where there were men putting shingles on the roof.

From there I bought oranges at Angelo's and then dropped off some reading material at Mrs. Staniski's. She gave me a bag of eight cookies. Then I headed over to the East Church rummage sale. Melissa McIntosh was third in line and we spoke briefly. She said she is an only child and never wished she had siblings. She also told me she has never been to Whately but knows who Barbara E. Smith is. I bought a few books and two puzzles of Big Ben and the Empire State Building. I also bought a West Lynn Creamery crate. When I got home I found my dumpster rolled up to the garage door, uppity neighbors telling me they don't like it left by the street. Unknown called, but when I picked up it was voiceless.

Eamon's latest phone editorial denounces Larry McDermott's recent column as "New York Post tabloid kind of journalism and sensationalism." Eamon called and I asked him who his dentist is and he replied he doesn't have one. He told me when he worked for the Department of Education he was covered by Medical West, but no longer has that coverage. He also told me he never receives mailings from the Chamber of Commerce. Eamon's friend Spellacy told him that Chief Meara is fat and has a refrigerator in her office full of candy and snacks of all sorts.

Eamon also claims that Raipher Pellegrino's mom Kathy is getting $77,000 to run the Springfield Parking Authority although she has no known qualifications for the job. Mayor Albano has given Raipher a two year $69,000 contact to be a legal aide to Chief Meara, which is enough with his City Council time to get him vested in the city's retirement system. Eamon recalled how Charlie Ryan once told him that Raipher's lack of of legal expertise was "embarrassing." Raipher is especially disliked by the Powell's.

March 12, 2000

40 degrees and overcast at 7am.

I always water my houseplants on Saturday or Sunday. Drove out for another Egg McMuffin and then cashed a check for $112 at Albank. Then I paid nearly $20 for gas at $1.49 per gallon at the corner of Alden. From there, I went to the St. Mary's flea market and got a few small things. The Census 2000 folks were at the Eastfield Mall from noon to 5pm, so I went and they two tables set up in the main court with two guys in red outfits and a very cultivated black woman. They were passing out business cards, buttons and red and white balloons. The black woman wrote my name and number on a card after I said I was interested in employment. When I left at 11:45am it was pouring out.

When I got back, I called Edith Michaud and she told me herself and husband Joe were doing fine. She said Aunt Maria has been moved from Riverdale to Heritage and is recovering nicely from her fall. She said the minister went to see her and found her "happy in spirit." She doesn't think Ruth has visited. Aunt Maria still wants to come home and Edith promised me she will be in touch if there are new developments.

Next I called Ruth Johnson, who complained that she has a cold, her first in ten years. I suggested it might be the flu but she insisted it is just a bad cold. Ruth said Shirley goes to visit Aunt Maria every day and she always asks to go home. I told Ruth about how I had to care for Mother her last couple years and could only leave the house for a few hours at a time. Ruth told me that Shirley is doing a good job and gets Aunt Maria anything she wants. She also speculated that Aunt Maria will leave little inheritance as all her money will probably go to her care.

Dined this evening on baked potato and hamburg. DiGrigoli Salon had an ad on TV22 with a woman in a biker jacket. No doubt about it, for a really trashy look get a biker jacket. I called Tom Devine but his mother said he was not home. Tom was raised Catholic despite the fact that his mother is a Protestant. I also left a message on the answering machine of Marshall Moriarty.

Eamon called and said he doesn't like donuts, but the best donuts he ever ate were at Johnson's Bakery across from St. Michael's Cemetery at the intersection of Berkshire Avenue and Boston Road. The owner was in the midst of expanding the place to add a coffee shop when he suddenly had a massive heart attack and died. Eamon then complained that ten years ago when Albano and the superintendent search committee went to New York they had a good time but didn't do the necessary background research on Dr. Negroni.

Eamon recalled how it was Raipher Pellegrino who defended the crooked travel agent that was in the news several years ago. He has been brought before the Bar Overseers once or twice. Eamon called Raipher's mother Kathleen as "a nitwit who was such a headache on the Police Commission they got rid of her by giving the Parking Authority job for which she is getting $77,000." Eamon called Mo Turner at the Valley Advocate and she assured him she is doing a story on Kathy Pellegrino's new job. He also spoke with TV40 to make sure they will do a story on it.

Eamon also said it is disgraceful the way the Union-News is trying to distance itself from Mayor Albano after having been a big supporter of the stadium project. We also discussed the old Kris Hundley article in the Advocate about the New York Times architecture critic Paul Goldberger calling the results of downtown revitalization "dull in the extreme." He said Goldberger was invited to speak at First Church by David Starr. Eamon saw David Starr on the local cable channel recently addressing Henry Thomas' group saying, "I feel very fortunate to be working with an organization that allows me to devote so much time to community affairs." Eamon suggested that Starr should have described himself as "meddling in community affairs."

March 13, 2000

36 degrees at 6:30am.

Timothy McVeigh was quoted on the news as saying, "I was brought up in an environment where men don't cry. I came to terms with my mortality in the Gulf War, so I am prepared for death." A good statement of the warrior mentality. WFCR says Spring will arrive a week from today. The Hampden Savings Bank drive-thru on Allen Street opens at 8am, the lobby opens later. John J. Peterson is the Senior Vice President of the Monarch Place branch of Paine-Webber. Grace Justice works in Consumer Relations for Stop&Shop.

There are birds nesting in my hedge. I went out at 9:12am and got the paper out of the Louis & Clark trashcan. Then I went to Pride in the Acres and made photocopies. Next, I went to Circuit City and looked at their phone identifiers. I also played a little on their Nintendo game, the first time I've played Nintendo. It's better than a comic book, although the experience is military rather than literary, the cute little cartoon figure had to jump around to protect itself, not talk. This is an important shift in how young people experience cartoons, from thought to action.

From there I went to Radio Shack at Eastfield and bought a new call identifier for $12 and some batteries. The cashier told me that Radio Shack batteries outlast all the others. A socialite-like lady was going through the mall doing surveys on tissue paper brands, but I didn't participate. Then into the mall offices where I told the Assistant Manager that I have always loved Eastfield Mall for its warmth, history, plantings and lighting. She clasped my hand with both of hers and said, "We don't get many comments like that!" I got a fish sandwich at their McDonald's and then came home and read the paper.

The census form came in the mail, and being a simple form I quickly completed it. I installed my new phone identifier, then called the Springfield Newspapers and told them that I don't often praise the paper, but I wanted to tell them that I admire the work of photographer Michael S. Gordon. She said they would pass the complement along to him. I didn't give my name.

Ann called and said she doesn't want me to send her anything more like the porn magazine I sent of a lady sitting in front of an organ of British production. She said she was hurt by it and has thrown it out. I reminded her that I sent it in a brown wrapper and said I picked it up as a a bibliographical entity consistent with my policy of sending her anything I see on organs. I also noted that the subject matter is excessively unique. She then thanked me for all I do for her mother and asked what I've been doing. I told her all about the new book I'm working on. I then thanked her for calling and urged her to stay in touch. Ann is a sweet, good and talented woman, but also a prissy, Methodist miss. I suspect that contributed to the breakup of her marriage to Flentje, who was clearly a regular guy who saw in Ann a cute dish. He probably wanted more sexual action than she did and sexual compatibility is more important than a lot of people like to admit. Enough said.

Eamon called and said his sister's son Thomas Joseph Haggarty, age 37, wants to become a Notary Public. He is a Cathedral graduate. Eamon spoke to James Johnson of the State Department of Revenue, who informed him that Springfield's bond obligations are $260 million. He also said Springfield receives $160 million in aid from the Commonwealth. Johnson described Springfield as "not having a good bond rating." Eamon told me he passed this information on to Charlie Ryan. Good for Eamon.

I called the Hampden Bank and spoke to Alexa, telling her I wanted to speak to someone in the main office. She told me that Heidi Young "just stepped out" but would call me back. Ms. Young soon did so, and informed me that my account had been closed for "harassing bank employees." I said I want that in writing and denied harassing anyone who worked at the bank. She claimed that bank President Thomas Burton "has the right to close accounts whenever he chooses and for whatever reason." I then called Burton and left a message on his answering machine saying that his bank is "so unsatisfactory in so many ways" and ended by shouting, "Your service stinks!"

March 14, 2000

Tuesday morning, 33 degrees, sun glowing thru.

WFCR says it costs $200 per hour to operate the station, and at one point in their fundraising pitch the woman said, "It all comes down to the details." Richard J. McCarthy, Public Information Officer at the Hampden County jail has a letter in the paper today entitled Prison Garb as Fashion Fad Not Cool With Jail Officials. I can't believe that some prison jumpsuits are green, the proper color is obviously orange. TV22 made a mistake using "I will" when "I shall" is correct because it best denotes determination. Hamilton from the Quad was on TV commenting on the Dr. Seuss WWII exhibit and mentioned that the Quad Cafe has been given a liquor license. He looks to me like a flunky and a follower of instructions.

My appointment with my dentist Anthony P. Giannetti was at 11:30am. I always admire what a wonderful spread of magazines he has in his waiting room. I assume he gets all those subscriptions thru some kind of package deal. He took an x-ray of the tooth that hurt and said there was no problem with it, but recommended that I clean it was a mouthwash and gave me a coupon for Perozyl Oral Rinse. His young black female assistant told me she was trained at STCC. It all came to $117 and I was out by 12:23pm.

From there I went to Food Mart and bought some cabbage and corned beef. I notice that the Grote & Wiegal Liverwurst packages all cost $2.69, but some were conspicuously bigger than others. I'll write to the company. I drove into the city and had a chat with Laurie St. Cyr, the manager of Westfield Bank. Then I trotted over to see Atty. Berman but he was not in. From Berman's I went to the City Treasurer's Office and asked for a bond prospectus. The woman hesitated until I told her that James Johnson from the State Department of Revenue said they always have a pile to hand out. She asked me which one I wanted and I replied, "How about all of them?" She walked into a backroom and then Chief Financial Officer Donna Williams came out and gave me the prospectus for the bond sale this fall. She said the last time they had a sale was in December. I thanked her and left. Before heading home I bought the Tuesday Special at Subway.

Unknown called while I was at the dentist. Someone on the news said we should try to attract a resident opera company. Groups get suckered into coming to Springfield and then die, the greener pasture is not in Springfield. I called the Valley Opportunity Council but no one was in. Next I called Karen Powell and told her I would drop off the prospectus for her to copy and then promptly return. Next I called Tom Devine and after chatting with his mother, Tom came on and told me that Mo Turner told him in an email that she had finished her Pellegrino article. Later I called Eamon and he said he was making a kielbasa sandwich. Eamon said his spoke with a friend who works in the Valley Advocate print shop who told him Turner's Pellegrino article has been submitted for publication. Eamon warned that maybe Burton will tell all the other bankers about me and cause me trouble at other banks.

March 15, 2000

46 degrees at 6:30am.

The Springfield Newspapers has scooped the Valley Advocate by breaking the Pellegrino story this morning. I called Tom Vannah and warned him that he might have a press room security problem as someone tipped off Eamon that their Pellegrino story was going to press. I told him I don't think Eamon had anything to do with the Union-News beating the Advocate in releasing the story. I also told him I'm disgusted with all the delays in the Cecil economic development report.

Linda P. Swartz works at Westfield Bank. I called Hampden Bank and left a message on Tom Burton's voicemail urging him to call me because I felt it would be fruitful for us to talk for ten or fifteen minutes. I left my number and then prepared a script for what I'd say to him. Then Amy Koehn called from Restaurant Business Magazine offering David McGurin a free subscription. I said this is Miller's Law Office and she asked, "Not Storrowtown?" I gave her the correct number and said I hoped she would send me a free subscription as well. She declined. Eamon discusses the Advocate story on his telephone editorial, referring to Raipher Pellegrino as "the failed baseball barrister." Later he called and told me he got over 70 calls today, three from the Union-News.

At 10:37am bank president Burton called as requested. We had a mostly pleasant, soft spoken conversation. I thanked him for calling and then read all my complaints off of my script. My voice shook a bit as I couldn't quite maintain the tone of poised confidence I had on my voicemail messages. At one point I warned him that I'm the worst possible person to have problems with. I suggested at the end that he take time to consider my complaints but Burton insisted, "I want to settle this now!" I informed him that I have detailed diaries and explained how I dealt with Caprio at WNEC. Since his claims that I caused trouble at his banks is simply not so, I told him I want a thousand dollars to drop my complaints.

Burton then accused me of extortion, telling me that he was willing to send me a letter of apology but no more than $50. I said $50 seems a little low for all the time and trouble he's caused me, but he insisted and furthermore told me I would not be allowed to bank at Hampden any longer. So we eventually reached an understanding where Burton got what he wanted, to get me off his back with only a token payment. I did not say thank you when we hung up.

Later I left to go to the Teaching Excellence Awards. Leaving the house, I saw Mr. Jozephczyk and he complained that he got a green door knob tag warning him not to put garden waste in his dumpster. I told him I'd like to have it for my files. Next I went to the Powells and gave Karen a box of stuff. She told me she had just gotten off the phone with Mo Turner but told me no details of their conversation despite my direct questioning. From there I headed to the awards ceremony at the Basketball Hall of Fame, wearing clean jeans, a t-shirt, my blue sports jacket and a belled fool's hat.

It started at 4pm and there were a lot of people there from the start. It was mostly all whites, very few blacks or Latinos. There was an open bar with a choice of white or red wine. They had kiwi and cucumber slices and broccoli bites, oranges, cut up peppers, carrots and celery. The event was catered by Elegant Affair. The food was mostly gone by 4:15. At 4:30 we were all seated and Sally Fuller, who with Briggs is now in PR with United Cooperative Bank, did nicely as Mistress of Ceremonies.

Mayor Albano spoke, saying that when he started on the School Committee in 1986 the city "did not have the commitment to education we now have, spending only $2,800 per year per student, now it's $7,000." He also made the incredible statement that "we now have the most aggressive school building program in the nation." He criticized the local press coverage of educational issues because "they don't write about good news."

Mr. Denver spoke about the role of the business community in promoting excellence. Well, they may be promoting it but they aren't achieving it. Sally Fuller then explained the teacher evaluation process and at the end asked all the teachers in the room to stand up. I remained seated although I have worked as a teacher in the past. Marjorie Hurst and Kenneth Shea were there, but Dr. Negroni didn't make it. Several people commented favorably on my fool's cap. One teacher told me she uses funny hats to teach all the time. I told them all that no one is qualified to teach but a fool. As I left I got a poster for the event off a bulletin board.

March 16, 2000

Record gain in the Dow today. TV22 says over 800 students are out of school everyday and they are thinking of using the police to enforce attendance. A display of the aurora borealis was visible Oct. 22 in the Pioneer Valley. The New England Historic Genealogy Society is having a dinner in honor of Ralph J. Crandall on the occasion of his 25th year with the Society on April 24th in Boston.

I have figured out what Over the Hill means to me. It means you know who your friends and enemies are, and if the enemies want anything they'll have to pay. Every generation comes instinctively to know what it wants to do. The good old people are the ones who help the kids do it, the bad old people are the ones who get in the way.

My right ear is somewhat clogged. Today I used up the rest of the hamburg and spaghetti. Put out the mail to Carol, Betty in Exeter and others at Louis & Clark around 11:30am. After making copies at CopyCat, I drove downtown and parked at Eliot and Salem. I left a copy of the Chamber of Commerce 1923 by-laws with Denver's plump receptionist. She told me that Sally Fuller no longer works there and is now at United Cooperative Bank. I asked her where the nearest branch is and she didn't know. I responded with, "Well, you should know!" She looked shocked so I told her that I am noted for my impertinence and while I am usually polite, people who cannot produce what I need to know will have a problem with me. I found United Cooperative on my own and left a letter for Fuller with Kimberly R. Marion, who said that Fuller has been with them for over a year.

There is a wonderful put down of Larry McDermott by Tom Vannah in this week's Valley Advocate. "You, Larry McDermott, are a horse's ass," were the opening words of his editorial. Turner's article on Pelligrino was also printed, as expected. Eamon called and said he had a headache all morning. Eamon thinks Sally Fuller is divorced with two young children, aged 8 and 10. He hears she's involved with Billy Baker, a book collector in Northampton. He also told me he has made copies of Vannah's McDermott editorial and is sending it to key people. Eamon says he can't confirm that Police Chief Meara is a lesbian, but everyone agrees she likes chocolate cake.

The mail came on time. Nader the Hatter sent me a pretty postcard of Miami. Nader seems like he's becoming a permanent Floridian. Eamon also got a card from the Hatter, one of pretty scenery with a nearly nude girl. The Colony Club called and General Manager Roseann Taylor said they already have people working on their club history. I asked their luncheon hours and she said noon to 2pm. She recommended making reservations first because because they are usually full.

The check from Hampden came today with a brief statement signed by President Burton:

This letter will serve as an apology for the inconvenience you were caused at the Hampden Savings Bank. As stated in my earlier letter, the reason I closed your account was due to the abusive, loud, rude and and offensive behavior you had shown while in our offices. Over the years that you have been a customer at Hampden Savings Bank all of our people, myself included, have treated you with courtesy and respect. Obviously, we are not perfect and any mistakes that are made rest with me. Therefore, if you need to vent any frustration, it should be towards me, not the staff. At this point it appears that we would both be better off parting ways. There are many other fine banks in Springfield that you can choose from. Enclosed is a check for $50 to cover any trouble we may have caused.

I called Burton and left a voicemail thanking him for his apology and check. I said I expect that he will make no negative remarks about me to other bankers. I stated that I hope his bank will not be a continuing source of irritation to me, and mentioned how all the other banks I deal with sent me condolences when Mother died but his bank did not. I called this omission tasteless, especially since I have done more than any other person in the city to point out how to improve the service of their bank and yet end up having my account closed. I told him he should try to make amends by nominating me for a Pynchon Award.

March 19, 2000

44 degrees at 7:30am, about an inch of snow.

Golf prevented the broadcasting of the St. Patrick's Day mass on TV22. It was aired in its entirety at 6pm. Bishop Dupre said that "cheap labor enriches the already rich" and urged his listeners to "preserve your faith in the face of tyranny, discrimination and tragedy." Jack O'Neil and Brenda Garton presided over the 49th Annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade. Richie Neal was the honoree this year. There are two branches of Hampden Savings Bank in Springfield, 19 Harrison Avenue and 1363 Allen Street. There are also branches in West Springfield and Longmeadow. Robert A. Massey is the bank's Senior Vice President. The office of Attorney William C. Flanagan is at 67 Market Street in Springfield.

Today I read Lovejoy's essay on blacks in Vermont and sent him a letter as well as a copy of Aunt Jennie's Poems. This is the Golden Age of Tag Sales because the richest generation of Americans that ever lived is dying off and a lot of their nice stuff is going for a song. Yesterday at 1740 Wilbraham Road there was a great tag sale of good stuff. The sale was badly attended because everyone was at Foster Memorial. It was put on by a retired 6th grade teacher who had taught at Bowles, Carew and New North who is moving in with his daughter.

I bought only one book, an autographed autobiography by Jesse Ventura. Mrs. Gray greeted me cordially and thanked me for the pictures I sent but never sent me a thank you note. Mrs. Aykanian from Monarch told me Ben Jones has moved out of Suffield and she wonders if he moved back to his place in Long Island. She doesn't go to the Goodwill anymore because the prices have gone up too high. A little boy was admiring a jigsaw puzzle of the Empire State Building. His dad didn't want to buy him the puzzle so I forked over the money to buy it for the kid.

Cooked up corned beef and cabbage with carrots. I called Heritage Hall and Laura said that Aunt Maria refused all her meds and was a little cranky today. She told me that Aunt Maria was aware that it was St. Patrick's Day. Eamon called and agrees that Nader the Hatter is becoming a Floridian. He spoke to Nader's brother-in-law who said the Hatter will be back in the area next week. We also chatted about bonds. I told Eamon I was bringing stuff over and he said he is going over his sister's today, but said he would leave a bag of stuff for me and to leave mine on the chair.

First I got veggies and fruit at Angelo's, then swung by the Powells and Bob gave me some reading material at the door. I arrived at the Goodwill in the Acres just as Patty was arriving. She exclaimed that the True Value Hardware Store had burned out and sure enough the rafters were charred and the roof all gone. I wonder if the fire had anything to do with the opening of Lowe's? There were people gathered around, some taking photos. One man said he heard a terrific explosion around 10pm. People were clearing equipment and potted plants out of the adjacent restaurant.

My next stop was hot cakes without sausage at the Boston Road McDonald's where I read the paper. There was an immense shamrock painted in the intersection of Liberty and Newbury. I rang the bell at Eamon's and no one answered, so I took his bag and left mine. Then I drove around the block and checked back and saw that my bag was gone, meaning Eamon had been only pretending not to be home. No problem.

March 21, 2000

The Fed has raised interest rates. TV57 said that one out of every 150 Americans are in jail. The Reminder is already here. Called the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce again to try to get one of their posters. They told me to call back tomorrow to speak with Daniel Torres. This is why I grab posters rather than asking for them.

Spent much of the day on correspondence and this diary. There were no newspapers in the Louis & Clark trash can today. I made a deposit at Ludlow/Albank which is being completely remodeled. A teller at Woronoco has long false fingernails and has to hit the computer keyboard with the balls of her fingers. The teller at Albank didn't have the silly false fingernails and had much better flexibility. I also dropped off the photos of Belle-Rita Novak at Walmart.

The mail did not get here until 1:40am. Tammy from Georgia called asking if I wanted to renew my subscription to Newsweek. I replied, "If I want to subscribe to your mag I'll let you know." Got Rev. Loesch at his number and he said he was on a conference call and offered to call back. I thanked him without identifying myself and hung up. An hour later Loesch called back saying he recognized my voice (there we go again). I told him about my experience working for the Census and told him I would send him a Bethel Church postcard.

Called Heritage South Wing A and spoke to Laura who said they have been testing Aunt Maria's memory by asking her questions about her past. Laura said Aunt Maria is doing okay, sometimes gets out of her chair and walks around, also talks about wanting to go home. I called Hungry Hill publisher Frank Faulkner and his wife picked up and said, "Let me have you talk to my husband." Frank was friendly enough and we related well over the phone. He said he works at Holyoke Community College and just got back from Ireland last night. I said I was sorry for calling so often or if I came across as a pompous ass. He said he doesn't remember seeing what I sent him but would look and get back to me.

Eamon has had the same phone editorial for the past several days: "Someone called wondering why I don't have anything nice to say about Springfield. I'm not the most perceptive guy on the block, but outsiders, Pulitzer Prize winning architects and Harvard Business School professors have said that Springfield has been decimated by arrogant developers, planners and politicians. That which appears superficially correct in the glossy marketing brochures and videos is all glitz and no substance. Just below the high fog index is a dishonest, bad city government mismanaged by career politicians, creating a last place ranked, near junk bond rated city."

Finished the corned beef and cabbage, cooked up some beats. Eamon called and read the statistics that Yankee Candle drew 4 million visitors last year and the Ingleside Mall drew 17 million. Eamon's cop friend Spellacy was in Ireland last week and said he couldn't stand all the smoke in the pubs. At one point in our talk it came up that Eamon wouldn't mind performing in a porn flick. I said nothing. According to Eamon, Mayor Albano is talking about a skating rink downtown. We both agreed that the old Steiger's site would be a good place. Eamon also said he has heard rumors that the Feds are looking into the Asselins' housing empire.

Eamon then recalled how when he ran for State Representative a couple of times, Mass Mutual offered him $500 both races but he declined, fearing they would own him if he took the cash. Eamon went on to say that Charlie Kingston was "a bag man" for Mayor Dimauro. "Dimauro was crooked," Eamon claimed, "but he was smart, never got caught." He also recalled that Frank Freedman got into politics because he had a law practice with no business. Freedman's mother worked as his secretary.

Eamon then went on to talk about his aunt, Bridget Fitzgerald Johnson. His Aunt Bridget was one of the biggest socialites in the city's Irish Catholic politics. Having no children, she threw parties at her Governor Street home for Brunton, Furcolo, Boland and many others. She would crochet fancy handbags and sell tickets to a raffle of them and gave the money to the Our Lady of Hope priests. "I was the entertainment at those events," Eamon said, sometimes accompanied by an Irish violinist or accordion player.

He described his aunt as "a very organized woman" despite having only an 8th grade education in Ireland but "knew geometry and everything today's high school graduates don't know." Her husband Patrick, a timid little man, was a "car-knocker" on the railroad, which meant he had something to do with making sure the cars were hitched together. Eamon described most of the Irish women he knew growing up as tough while their husbands were timid. He described his own father as "a mild mannered man." Woman ran the show and did the disciplining of the children. Eamon's father was born in the Blasket Islands off the coast of Ireland. His father never went back to Ireland, but his mother went back three times. A wonderful conversation filled with valuable local Irish and political history.

March 23, 2000

42 degrees at 7:30am.

I eat to live, not live to eat. Dined this evening on Stouffer's Spaghetti and Meatballs. The Paramount is being renamed the Hippodrome. What happened to the Julia Sanderson Theater?

The Reminder came. I drove to Angelo's and got salad, then dropped off some reading material at Mrs. Staniski's, whose gate was open but was not at home. Good. With Eamon's sister's coupon I got a ham, egg and cheese sesame bagel at the Boston Road Subway. It is a spacious place and has a new wallpaper up of skyscrapers and other buildings. The old wallpaper was white with black print.

I went to Lowe's for the Grand Opening at 9am but the manager, Rex Hayes, told me the actual ribbon-cutting would be at 10am. Therefore I killed time by going through Ocean State Job Lot and Stop&Shop. I bought Rice Krispies and used triple coupons on six items. Well worth it. Outside, I ran into Mayor Albano and Russ Denver walking by. Denver greeted me with a big smile but Albano barely said hello. Denver quipped, "I can't go anywhere without seeing you!" Then I went to the Wilbraham Post Office and mailed many things, including a letter to J. Lovejoy. The regular smiling postal clerk said he'd put it right away in Lovejoy's box and that Mrs. Lovejoy always comes down to get the mail.

When I got back to Lowe's Sen. Brian Lees was chatting with reporters from TV stations 22 and 40. Ellen Chang says "guys" too often. They had antique autos on display and there were flags and red and blue balloons everywhere. There was a drawing for a Grand Opening prize of a free $1,000 shopping spree. I entered under the name Ambrose Miller and lost. By 10:35am the crowd was gone at Lowe's, and on the way home I picked up the Belle Rita Novak prints at Walmart.

When I got back I saw that Mr. Cohn had left in my box his mint copy of the Millennium Economist. I penned him a pretty thank you note. Today is Aunt Maria's 97th birthday. I called Heritage Hall and got Mary Ellen who said Aunt Maria's health "is very well this morning" but described my aunt as being "in a very nasty mood." I told her that's the way Aunt Maria treats a lot of people. She said Aunt Maria will get something special on her supper tray and Shirley will be there.

School Superintendent Dr. Peter Negroni resigned today at a press conference just after noon. The Mayor was there and Teresa Regina appeared to be crying. Albano announced that he is naming Regina interim superintendent. Negroni's new job on the College Board will be "working with schools for better performance." Eamon called at 12:12pm and said that's crazy because improving performance is the very thing he failed to do around here. Eamon scoffed that Negroni "worked with schools to design new buildings, maybe, but not to inspire performance." Eamon claimed that Negroni "has failed to achieve his goals, the kids are stupid, and his priorities have been lopsided at best." He also recalled how Art Gingras once described Negroni as having "dismantled the entire school system."

Unknown called, but when I picked up remained voiceless for a good while before hanging up.

March 24, 2000

Sunny, 44 degrees at 6:30am. Gas down to $1.49 at Watershops.

Had croissants for breakfast, for lunch I had two cheese sandwiches and a can of Progresso Split Pea Soup. Nader called and he will arrive in Springfield tomorrow afternoon for a three week stay, primarily to tend to his ailing father's affairs. I invited him to come over whenever he cares to. Sovereign will open in the former Bank of Boston location by City Hall on Monday. Paula Rickson has left Mass Mutual with an early retirement package.

Thundering down the home stretch of re-reading my diary for the last year. I sent Tom Vannah's article on McDermott to McDermott himself with a note attached saying that Vannah speaks for me, telling Larry that respect has to be earned. I also sent a transcript of Eamon's latest phone editorial on Dr. Negroni to Letters to the Editor with my signature on it:

In spite of all the glowing remarks in the local news media regarding Mr. Peter Negroni, the social promoting, rudderless charlatan Superintendent, outside of building some new schools, there's overwhelming evidence he has failed to educate the children of Springfield. The accumulation of facts which demonstrate this failure is staggering. I say good riddance to an overrated, slick conman change agent, who never should have been hired in the first place by Mayor Albano and his dumbed down, rubber stamp school board.

Drove downtown and parked on Eliot. Lots of cars ticketed all over the place, nobody in their right mind would go downtown. Some posters around, but none I wanted. I got a copy of the paper out of one of the trash cans on Main. I left some stuff at Marshall Moriarty's office on the fifth floor, room 510, just down the hall from the Hendel bankruptcy people. There were 7 customers, mostly young men, in the Central Barber Shop on State. Passed by my broker G. on the way back from Atty. Moriarty's and he gave me a friendly hello.

I stopped at the Peter Pan bust terminal's McDonald's and noted that someone has ripped one of the framed memorabilia photos off the wall. They had no breakfast or fish sandwich specials. I inquired about the price of bus rides: Amherst $10, Hartford $18, Boston $34 or ten Boston tickets in a book for $144. Stopped at the Springfield Newspapers to drop stuff off and noticed that the receptionist was reading an in-house paper I never knew of before entitled 1860 Main Street Memo. Home at 10:25am.

Eamon called and said he has talked to a reporter at the NY Post about Dr. Negroni. The Post reporter was shocked by what Eamon told him, remarking that, "If true, this puts Negroni in a different light." Eamon also sent a 25 page report on Negroni to former Governor of Virginia Gaston Caperton, now President of the College Board. Karen Powell called Eamon today and said that the newspaper is trying to get rid of Kevin Claffey and wouldn't let him report on the Northgate stadium story. Eamon speculated that Claffey will probably end up working in his brother's law office.

Eamon also told me that Marshall Moriarty called him and asked what Eamon thought about Marshall running against Edward O'Brien for Governor's Council. Eamon told him that he heard directly from O'Brien's assistant in Westfield that O'Brien will definitely be running again. He told Marshall that O'Brien is a long time friend of his so Eamon declined to offer Marshall any support. Eamon then recalled how Tony Ravosa once came to him thinking of running against O'Brien and Eamon advised him not to waste his money.

March 26, 2000

Sun glowing through, 44 degres at 6am. Gas is $1.51 at Breckwood Sunoco.

The St. Patrick's Day Parade will honor Marshall Patrick Sullivan, who will receive the traditional Irish walking stick named in honor of Thomas W.P. Sampson, a former Marshall. They will also honor the John J. Burke Award winner Bruce Fitzgerald and the Paul G. Caron Award winner Patti McDowell. Also included will be Appreciation Award winners Jim and Peggy Sullivan.

Today I finished my review of the diary, then did the last of the backyard clean up with mower and blower. Daffodils and crocuses up all around. Next I went to the Church in the Acres tag sale. There was a very long line that curled all around the front of the church, but there was nothing special inside. Balch was not there, but the black lady was there with her feeble minded son. She told me they won't be going to the Foster tag sale anymore. From there I went to Subway with another coupon, where I ran into Anderson from the Valley Advocate. He was friendly and had just come from having some photos developed at the Breckwood Shops. He has a handicapped medallion on his car.

On my way back I left a computer magazine with Mrs. Devine, who now has a cute white cat to replace the dark colored one that died last summer. She was turning over the earth where she plants her Dalilas. T. Regina was interviewed tonight by TV22. She was seated in an office, Negroni's I think, but it may have been another fancy office someplace on the first floor of the old Fire & Marine. She said she'd like to be chosen for Superintendent because she is familiar with the system and "would like to see it going in a positive direction."

Eamon has a great phone editorial today: Once again, Peter Negroni is leaving his position one step ahead of the sheriff, just as he did when he resigned from the most corrupt, mismanaged, last place ranked School District 12 in the Bronx. After ten years, his abysmal record has caught up with him. The State Department of Education, U.S. Office of Education and Inspector General's Office are raising questions about the chronic absenteeism, low test scores and fraudulent use of student enrollment numbers to obtain state and federal funds. Mr. Negroni wants out before the waste hits the fan.

Eamon called and said his phone editorial got two calls from the offices of the Valley Advocate. We talked about the story in the paper about the gala for big donors to the library and the dedication of the obelisk with their names on it. We also discussed the ugly new Visitor's Center they are erecting. The paper says they expect 500,000 visitors per year, but Eamon would like to know how many visitors they get at centers elsewhere in the state. Eamon also recalled how Nader the Hatter's nickname used to be The Bushman. I talked about some of my ancestors and Eamon said they sounded like "Yankee Protestant shit-kickers from Vermont."

March 27, 2000

Sunny, 42 degrees at 6am.

Friendly's announced it is closing their shop on Liberty Street. On TV I saw that Six Flags is advertising a four pack Season Pass at $49.99 per pass, available at Big Y. In other words, if you care to spend $200, you can have four season passes. They also said 95,000 people attended the Home Show this year. Gary L. Fialky is the President of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce. Mother lived at 99 High Street in Springfield in 1930. Aunt Maria traced titles in the courthouse for Ellis Title and Conveyance Company at 500 Main Street in 1924.

I drove out about quarter to nine and found no free papers in the Louis & Clark trashcan. Then into the city, where I parked right in front of the Hispanic Catholic Church. I walked down to the opening of Sovereign Bank, but the ribbon cutting was over and the Mayor and other officials had already left. There remained bouquets of flowers, orange and yellow balloons and a table with a scanty spread of muffins, danish and orange juice. I soon left there and got a black raspberry donut at Dunkin Donuts in Tower Square. I ran into Mr. Hurwitz and explained why the Visitor Center stinks. He listened politely.

I stopped at the City Library and read the names on the obelisks of the donors. Fran Gagnon is not listed, but David Starr is down for $100,000 as was the Union-News. Other names I recognized were Ruth and Homer Chapin, the estate of Mildred Clark, Merrie and Lynn Wood, the stuffy Thomas Wheeler and three Putnams - Michael, Roger and William. Those who gave $5,000 included Henry and Emily Bader, Joseph and Gayle Carvalho, Randolph Bromery, Michael Marks and the Hon. Mary Hurley-Marks plus the Napolitans.

When I got back I called down to the Springfield School Department and Judy told me that Dr. Negroni starts his new job at the College Board in New York on July 1st. I told her that Negroni has always been polite to me and I wish him well. I also left a message for Rosemary Shea and the School Board that I'm nominating Eamon T. O'Sullivan for Superintendent because he has done more to improve the schools than anyone else in the city. I then called Nick in the Mayor's office and also told him that I am supporting Eamon for superintendent.

Eamon called tonight and said the College Board told him they are "flabbergasted" by the material he sent them on Negroni. They said, "You know more about Dr. Negroni than we do!" Eamon has also spoken to Campanini at the New York Post about Negroni. Eamon admitted to me that he spends around a hundred bucks a month on long distance telephone calls. Eamon is still wondering what became of the book Negroni was writing back in 1992 called Transforming the Nation's Public Schools: America's Last Hope. Eamon says Bill Putnam just married Kitty Broman. He thinks Kitty's kids look like Bill, and nobody seems to know anything about who her first husband Broman was.

March 29, 2000

Heavily overcast, 53 degrees at 6:15am.

Goldman-Sachs is recommending liquidating some of your assets into cash. Amherst has voted to discourage enforcement of the marijuana laws, but the Chief of Police said they will continue to enforce the law. Russell Denver of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield sent me a letter thanking me for sending them a copy of the 1923 by-laws of the Springfield Chamber. The Chamber is currently moving from the BankBoston Building to the SIS Center. On TV40 Ms. Wilson used "was" instead of "were." E.V. Johnson was a Bethesda Lutheran and one of my favorite teachers. David Starr is 78.

Today I put out four bags of garden waste, including two bundles of branches. The Reminder was delivered this morning, it was supposed to come on Monday. Cries and Whispers had a tid-bit critical of Dr. Negroni Sunday entitled Dr. Negroni and Mr. Hyde:

The normally press hungry Springfield School Superintendent, Peter Negroni, did the unexpected last week, tossing a reporter out of a school and leaving some to wonder whether he's lost his renowned media savvy. The reporter visited John F. Kennedy Middle School on assignment to report on a 12 member team touring classrooms and meeting with staff in the wake of a state announcement naming the school as one of eight to be reviewed for poor MCAS scores. Negroni's team apparently plans to soften the blow of the state inquiry.

The reporter followed standard routine, signing the visitor list and checking in at the office. She was told where to find Negroni and the team. Her arrival in a classroom was met with an atypical response from the usually responsive Chief: "Who invited you here?" he asked. "You're welcome to tour the school on your own, but you are not welcome to join us. We are evaluating a school." Of course, Cries and Whispers is sure the good doctor has nothing to hide.

Finished reading Dyer on war today. Cooked up some corned beef and cabbage for supper. Belle-Rita Novak called, she's back from babysitting and told me she got the pictures I sent her. She said she will be glad to attend the Tuesday Morning Music Club concert and luncheon next month, she'll drive her own car and meet me there. Nader the Hatter called and said his sister and brother in law are in NYC and he is alone with the old man and has his hands full. He found nothing about Wilson on the internet, but found the Valley Advocate article about me complete with picture. Nardi is having terrible legal problems with his ex-wife. Nardi has Peter Bellotti for an attorney and he said he has never seen such an "egregious case of malicious prosecution." Nardi has already run up $50,000 in legal bills and has had "a tough last few years."

I called Rosemary Shea about Negroni's alleged book and she said, "I don't think he ever finished it. Maybe a chapter or two, but that's all." Eamon called and said he bought something from Ross-Simon Jewelers but when it arrived the item in the box was wrong. "Nobody can get anything right." I asked him what he thinks of Friendly's. He described it as too expensive, the service is lousy and the waitress always messes up his order. He said they used to have big cheeseburgers with a nice slice of onion on top, but now they are dinky little burgers with chopped up onions and not much of it. Their fries are also soggy.

Eamon complained that $50 million was spent on remodeling the High School of Commerce, but a new gym, pool and a paint job would have been fine. Now Commerce has a fancy building but the same old academic problems. Eamon told me he has been talking to Robert Johnson, the District Attorney for the Bronx. He sent Johnson material on Negroni, and also to the New York Times, New York Daily News and the New York Post. He also wrote to the New York Commissioner of Education, who told Eamon his mailings are "definitely" in the hands of the Inspector General's Office. Eamon asked if I have seen the latest Valley Advocate on Negroni, which mentions Eamon at one point. I said no, I stayed in today, with gas prices up I am sitting still. He said he has already received a congratulatory call from Stacia.

March 31, 2000

George W. Bush resembles the mascot for MAD Magazine. A big tornado hit Fort Worth, Texas, the skyscrapers had their windows blown out. The East Forest Park Library opens the 18th in the row of stores where Norman Halperin had his pharmacy (Brooks is in there now) on Island Pond Road. Trinity College is located on Summit Street in Hartford. Fancy That Antiques was located at 752 Sumner Avenue in 1999. Matties on Boston Road have been hosting Sunday Poetry Slams with cash prizes.

I have started my April Fool's memo and wrote checks. Had a Swanson Meatloaf Dinner yesterday. Boston Magazine came today with a notice that it's time to renew for $9.95. I have had my free year and am not renewing. I drove out this morning to Pride in the Acres and got copies of the Valley Advocate with a splendid story about Dr. Negroni, which begins by quoting one of Eamon's answering machine editorials. It also mentions a couple of negative impressions Eamon sometimes makes, including a quote by Tom Devine in which he says that Eamon sometimes comes across as "bigoted." Other negative terms about Eamon were also included.

I went over Mrs. Staniski's and gave her some magazines and some some Macadamia nuts from Wisconsin. When I got there we split the nuts (over her protests) and then she told me a sad little story about how on February 13th she was backing out of a parking spot at South Church after service when a car suddenly appeared out of no where and "tapped" her car. The driver, who was wearing a cross around his neck, got out and started screaming and swearing at her (on Sunday). That attracted a friend from the church, Dell Lehman, who got the information from the other driver.

The car is registered under Lucille B. Fish of High Street, Apt. 104. The guy shouted, "Didn't you hear me honk?" She said she had her foot on the break when the collision occurred. Mrs. Staniski has until April 8 to decide whether she wants to appeal a surcharge on her insurance. So Mrs. S. is set up for a pain in the ass all the way around. I think Mrs. Staniski is starting to slip. When I got back to Birchland I left some material with Mrs. Cohn. White-haired Mrs. Cresotti was out and we exchanged pleasantries.

I called and left word with Tom Vannah that I liked the Negroni article and that I hope the investigation into Dr. Negroni goes someplace. The Advocate receptionist said she didn't know when they'll be moving to their new location, perhaps in June. I then called my broker Guizonis and he said they have FDIC insured CD's that pay more than banks. He also said pharmaceuticals are now depressed so this isn't a good time to sell. Spoke with Cassandra at Banner Life and the value of my policy is $8,512.93, She said she will send the forms for closing it out.

Someone called looking for Fred Withee at Storrowtown Tavern. I told them, "This is not the number for Storrowtown Tavern." The person said okay and hung up. Eamon called and said he was upset that Devine had used the term "bigoted" to describe him. Eamon has apparently forgotten that is similar to what I said of him in the Advocate in the article about me: "Eamon O'Sullivan, even though he comes across as being tactless and perhaps a racist, is an impeccably fine Irish gentleman." Eamon told me he called the Advocate today and spoke with Maureen Turner for half an hour and told her all about contacting the Inspector General. He suspects that Negroni smells something's going on. Turner has not seen Negroni's resume, which Eamon got in 1986 from Broward County, Florida. Eamon has been getting a lot of calls today, even though his number was not in the article.


April 2000

April 2, 2000

Example of academic gobbledegook: "Contextualization subtending meta-thought is dominated by pardigmatic defamiliarization of exclusionary encodings of mimetic postnarrative constructs based upon dialogic historicity." Robert L. Packard is a Playworld Systems Consultant in Salem, New Hampshire. Tru-Green Chemlawn is located on Westover Road in Chicopee, where Mike McManus is the Branch Manager.

Had breakfast at McDonald's, then bought vitamins on sale at Stop&Shop. Them I made copies at Pride in the Acres and left a bag of reading material on the Powell's doorknob. There were no tag sales around at all, but I did run into Dawn's Antiques and Collectibles, a tall, white panel truck, that they pack with plastic containers full of mostly dime store merchandise. I bought none of their overpriced cheap store items, but I did get the Norton Book of Light Verse in good shape. Then down to the Quadrangle where Ed Lonergan and Reggie Wilson were both on duty in the Reference Room. Ed is always friendly and found me some information on Gutterman, for which I gave him a dollar.

I placed in my permanent files several items including the rainbow poster for The Millennium March for Equality, some Sovereign Bank ads, my correspondence with Progresso soups and the latest Ogulewicz Chronicles from Devine. Nader the Hatter came by, saying that the books at the Goodwill are on sale so he bought me a copy of The Legal Word. I was in my plastic suit and didn't ask him in. His visit was important because he rang my doorbell and it worked.

Chatted with Mrs. Staniski, her insurance agent is getting the name of the other driver, but doesn't have it yet. She asked me not to call Carol about it because "she has problems of her own." I told her she will have to discuss the accident with Ann and Mrs. S. is afraid she will be all upset. I offered to drive her to the hearing. Ryan Blair from 781-5828 called looking for Storrowtown. He was polite, but I refused as always to give him the correct number.

Called Tom Devine and we talked about Doyle the Twig Painter's latest mailing with a question mark surrounded by a heart drawn on the back. Tom said that the mailing "was sent to everybody" and to just ignore it. I told him I am planning to make my move and see what happens. Eamon called and said he had to change his answering machine tape three times since the Valley Advocate story on Negroni came out Thursday. We discussed Devine's comments about Eamon printed in the article and Eamon recalled Devine telling him he wanted to "distance" himself from me.

April 3, 2000

Overcast, sprinkling.

Peanuts today has Peppermint Patty saying, "And remember Marcie, winning is everything and losing is nothing!" Peppermint Patty has always been my kind of girl, she wears sandals. In 1998 John Silber sent Eamon a Christmas card with an illustration adapted from a 1760 wordbook for Handel's Messiah. I'm reading the Norton Anthology of Light Verse. With the basement all picked up, I am ready to wind up Mother's estate in the next few days. When I went out at 9am it was starting to rain. At Breckwood I got some newspapers, put out the mail and bought a gallon of milk for $1.79. Ouch!

The Breckwood Shops in 2000.

Then I drove over to Woronoco at the Big Y. The main entrance to the store is closed off for remodeling, so their bulletin board was bare. I have decided to take Gutterman as seriously as he would like to be treated. I sent him a copy of my book Coke and Verse, along with a picture of myself in leather inscribed, "To Dr. Leon Gutterman with profound respect and admiration for your good works in advancing learning."

Karen Powell called and thanked me for the reading material I left which she said she had just finished reading. She was friendly and told me she has passed on the bond prospectus I gave her to Maureen Turner. Powell said they had over 160 people at their fundraiser to cover Charlie Ryan's legal fees for helping them in the Northgate case. She said Maureen Turner attended and I told her that Maureen was no doubt glad that I wasn't there. Karen said she has filed a formal complaint with the Bar Overseers about Raipher Pelligrino's role in trying to falsely claim that signatures gathered by CANE were forgeries.

Dined on artichokes and creamed beef on potato. Eamon called and I read him some passages from the Ogulewicz Chronicles. Eamon told me that Richie Neal once called him and was swearing over the phone at him "yelling and screaming about all he's done for my family." Eamon defended himself by saying that his brother the Fire Chief had the highest test scores and that Neal had nothing to do with it. Eamon claims that Neal "has made those kinds of calls to a lot of people" so he wasn't surprised when I read him the account of Neal screaming at Ogulewicz over the school roofs. Eamon said that Neal is of the "perception is reality school" so he let the roofs go to hell. Eamon claims nothing would have been done about the roofs if Ogulewicz hadn't made it an issue.

April 4, 2000

Overcast and sprinkling at 3:50pm.

Perhaps nothing is so restful as being laced into a bondage helmet and blindfolded with all contact with the outside world cut off. Cleaned house and found five of Mother's most worn shoes under he bed. I dispensed of the shoes except for a still good pair of sandals that I will give to the Goodwill. Drove out at 9:30am and mailed a lot of letters and payments at Louis & Clark. Then I drove down to AIC for the Tuesday Morning Music Club Concert, which as usual was quite good. I parked as I always do on Massachustts Avenue and as I crossed the street there was a funeral procession approaching with cop cars in front, two wagons of flowers, three or four limosines and a long line of cars with a cop at the back. Doubtless it was the funeral for former Mayor Mary Hurley's father, Edward H. Hurley.

I went inside and bought my ticket to the concert and in front of me was somebody from South Hadley who brought three old ladies in a wheelchair. Mrs. Staniski was not there. On the way back I went to the Ludlow Bank in Indian Orchard where Mother sometimes went and deposited checks, then stopped along antiques row and went to a couple of places including Cat's Paw. I passed the former Indian Orchard Congregational Church where Loesch was preaching a few years back and the sign now says Evangelical Covenant Church.

Eamon called and said he just got back from buying bagels from Gus & Paul's on Sumner Avenue. Eamon's former neighbor Theresa A. O'Brien has died. She was an Administrative Clerk for Superior Court Clerk Marie Mazza. O'Brien moved with her sister into one of the exclusive Windpath Condos in West Springfield and paid in cash. She didn't live to enjoy it for long! Eamon said he spoke with Christine Schaves (Potugeses he says) in the State Department of Education and they discussed the Springfield drop out rate. She exclaimed, "Those are shocking numbers! What's wrong with your school board?" Eamon has been talking to Donahue a lot lately about Dr. Negroni and all he has gotten away with. Donahue recalled how he was at a Rotary Club meeting once where Negroni spoke and he got a ride back with him. They discussed Commerce and they both agreed that making Jesu principal after Phil Sweeney was a big mistake because he was totally incompetent. Donahue felt that Sweeney was a good principal whom the kids liked and respected. Donahue felt Henry Kelly and Jerry Fournier were outstanding principals as well. Eamon also had a nice chat with Nader the Hatter's father, whom Eamon says talks as though he's doing pretty good. Eamon says that Tom Devine has been calling regularly, no doubt to see if Eamon responds in his phone editorial to the negative remark Tom made about Eamon in the Valley Advocate. I advised Eamon to just ignore what Devine said and he decided to do just that.

I mentioned seeing the Hurley funeral pass by and Eamon told me that Ed Hurley had been a pilot in World War II and was the brother of William the bondsman. His favorite drink was a Dewars Scotch and water. Bill became prosperous, but Edward was not successful. He was among the gang who used to drink at the Stonehaven on Chestnut Street. Eamon claimed he was always pretty generous about buying drinks, but he can't recall Hurley ever buying him a drink. When Eamon came in the bar the first thing he used to do was buy a round of drinks for everybody. When it was Hurley's turn to treat he'd disappear into the Men's Room. Hurley was close to Jack Connolly of the State Department of Revenue, a nice guy who lived on Langdon Street. Hurley lived over on Sumner Avenue but eventually moved to Chicopee. His wife died just a few years ago. Others who drank at the Stonehaven were Jerry Spear the builder, Paul Krause the photographer and Jerry Sarno the ABC inspector. They're all dead now. Hurley was close to a number of mobsters including Howard Cotter, who was involved in a scandal involving paintings stolen from a mansion on Cape Cod. Ed Hurley had to hire an expensive female attorney from Connecticut to keep himself out of it.

Mary Huley's husband worked for a while for a junk dealer on Albany Street and also likes to hang out at Hilltop Motors. Eamon says he is "in tough shape" and is so fat he can barely move, but according to Eamon, Mary was lucky to have found somebody because "sometimes you have to take what you can get."

April 5, 2000

45 degrees and overcast at 3:45pm.

One of my collecting interests are things related to Little Red Riding Hood. Went out at 9:40am and bought a Subway ham and cheese bagel with a 50 cents off coupon. The guy who made it for me didn't wear plastic gloves like he's supposed to. I parked behind Price Rite and noticed three Shop Rite trailers. No doubt about it, they are a Shop Rite subsidiary. There was a Shop Rite located at that location for many years but was replaced by Unclaimed Freight. Now they're back and it's a much tidied up shopping mall from the way it was when they left. Got veggies at Angelo's, but didn't need much.

From there I headed downtown and parked at Salem and Elliot, where I dropped something off at the Quadrangle and then headed down the hill. On the street behind the Quad workmen were digging up the bricks around the trees because the trees have outgrown their space since they were planted in the 1980's. Around the Bank of Boston building the red granite tile work has cement missing everywhere. It used to look so nice when new but now all the 80's renovations are starting to look tacky.

Stopped into the Civic Center offices and left an envelope for Hurwitz, then to Atty. Berman's office. Next to City Hall to give mayoral aide Nick Breault some material I originally intended for Marshall Moriarty. I also paid my excise and water fee. The display case that Fran Gagnon used to sometimes fill in the main lobby is now completely empty. Mary Hurley's suggestion box, the sole concrete survivor of her mayoralty, appears abandoned. The front steps of City Hall also needs work and the medallion in front of the campanile has a puddle over half of it.

Kayman's Custom Tailors is gone, as is the adjacent eatery. Johnson's is still empty, but with a colorful display of artificial flowers in the window with a sign indicating they are U.S. Factory Outlets merchandise. Factory Outlet is no doubt desperate to drum up business for their store. I was back at the car at 11:25am and on the way up State I saw that there were three police cruisers parked in front of Commerce. I used visitor parking to briefly attend the STCC job fair. There were both more booths and more freebies than last year. The best freebie was a rainbow slinky. I left only one application, with Big Y.

When I got home Hurwitz called, saying he was sorry he missed me this morning. Hurwitz said he read everything I gave him and told me that I write beautifully. Regarding Negroni, he feels Eamon should "move on to other pursuits." He doesn't know the status of the Cecil report. I told him I was cheered by our victories involving Northgate, but Hurwitz said he believes a baseball stadium would be good for the city if done properly. When I criticized the new Visitor Info Station he conceded "a lot of people agree with you" while insisting he had "nothing to do with it." I made positive comments about his restaurants and said they could make better tourist info centers than the one they are putting up. I stressed to Hurwitz that I have nothing against Jews, but David Starr has permitted his paper to print too much disinformation and that is the cause of a lot of the city's problems.

Sidney E. Queen called looking for Storrowtown. Eamon called about the story in the paper about the deterioration of the Barney Mausoleum and wanted to know when Barney died. I told him that Everett Barney died April 29, 1905. The paper said he left $3 million to the city for the park, Eamon said that would be a bundle today if it were properly invested. I told Eamon about the job fair and told him I almost filled out an application for Yankee Candle. This caused Eamon to recall how Stassi Hieropolis went to work for Yankee Candle after losing his media job after a morals incident in Forest Park, according to Eamon's friend Deputy Spellacy.

Eamon recalled how he used to know somebody named George who was a phony in the Department of Revenue. He was about to be nominated for a Liquor Commission post until Eamon complained he had conflicts of interest so they didn't appoint him. Today, Eamon saw on his phone ID that this person was calling to listen to his latest editorial, so he came on the line and the guy was shocked exclaiming, "How did you know it was me?" and then hung up! Eamon also recalled how he signed up for the naval reserve in 1951 and didn't start college until 1958 when he went to Amherst College and graduated in 1962. Edmond Garvey, future head of STCC, was Commander of the local Naval Reserve. Garvey was into electronics, had patents in radar and sonar and owned two TV stores.

Eamon said the professors at Amherst had great respect for students who had been in the military and offered them all the time and help they needed. He also knew lots of foreign students who were incredibly wealthy and thought nothing of paying for big dinners for their friends. The call was cut short because Eamon said he had an incoming call from Paula Girary from the State Department of Education. I have some details on Eamon's life in high school, but know almost nothing about his life from his 1951 graduation to 1958, his first year at Amherst. That's seven long years that I know nothing about, so I must research further.

April 6, 2000

Red sky, overcast, 40 degrees at 6:30am.

A certain type of snob (like me) likes to be photographed with their books. Off the Mark is a cartoon by Mark Parisi. The friends of the Wilbraham Public Library will have an opening reception for their annual art exhibit March 5th with a special presentation unveiling the commissioned painting of the Wilbraham Public Library on Crane Park Drive by local artist Mary Massidda. Tassinari Brothers is located on Moody Street in Ludlow.

Early in the morning, around 7am this time of year, the sun comes in the eastern basement window and lights the piano/sofa/typewriter corner very nicely. I drove down to Breckwood for the new Valley Advocate and the parking lot was full. There was a big crowd in Sophia's Sports Bar and Grill, I have never paid much attention to that watering hole. Cooked up some brussel sprouts tonight and ate them with some Stouffer's stuffed peppers. I AM getting fat, must eat less food. Worked on the final numbers on Mother's estate, then had a can of beans and two franks. I shouldn't have, I must control my appetite.

I've finished looking over Leslie's Spanish American War (1899), exceptionally brittle paper, a splendid book on a forgotten war. I then called Leonard Collamore and told him about the unusual picture of the statue of Columbus at San Juan that appears in the Spanish American war book. Next I called Dunkin Donuts at 470 Burnett Road in Chicopee and told Lisa that their Munchkins box is defectively engineered. If you put more than 50 Munchkins inside the weight pulls the catch down so they fall out. I said there should be hooks to prevent that from happening. She said she would pass the word along and thanked me for calling. Finally, I called Belle-Rita Novak who is just back from the Boston National Main Street Town Meeting and says she is really energized. She isn't sure if she can attend the Tuesday Morning Music Club concert because the following day is one of her big holy days.

TV40 had a piece on the news about the appointment of Pellegrino to a $65,000 job advising the Police Department on a safe schools project. They also had a story about UMass English Professor Richard Burt who is in trouble for posting bare chested women on his university website. Valerie from United Consumers of West Springfield called, but I said we have nothing to talk about and hung up. Eamon called and said he had an hour long conversation with Nader the Hatter last night. Eamon said that he and Donahue were talking about Negroni again. They talked about how Negroni has four kids by a wife he is divorced from. Negroni now has a girlfriend in NYC that he just bought a new car for. Edward Shea, Clerk of County Courts, an elected official, took the bar fifteen times and never passed, according to Eamon. He then told me that the Nardi restaurant family are Sicilians and Mama Nardi was tight with the mob. Alphonse was a real mama's boy and when he went to Notre Dame she told him, "Don't be fooling around with the girls, get your education first." Alphonse was often in trouble and she had a hard time keeping him out of jail.

April 8, 2000

Windy, mild, springlike day, 49 degrees at 6:25am.

I hurtle through time into the future, leaving too many jobs unfinished. Called Debbie of Banner Life and she will close out both policies next week. Called Friendly's Ice Cream and got Deborah Burns, who is in charge of the annual meeting, and told her that so far I have not received their annual report. Chimney Corner Antiques is located on Magnolia Street in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Springfield Life Insurance Company was in Brattleboro, Vermont in 1988.

I cut my finger on this paper putting it in the typewriter, hence the bloodstain. Yes, that's my blood. I pulled litter out of the front hedge and raked half the treebelt lawn. Lots of cigarette butts along the street. Magnolias and forsythias are out. Left a bag of stuff for Mrs. Staniski at 1:15pm but didn't knock on the door because that is her nap time. I also left something for the Cohn's, who did not appear to be home. I was about 6th in line at the Methodist tag sale in East Longmeadow. I got six books, two were nice New England picture books of the sort Mrs. Staniski likes. Melinda M. was there wearing a black sweater with white bunnies on it.

I was in line right behind a couple and the woman turned to me and said, "You look just like a drug dealer!" I assured her that I don't even use drugs, let alone sell them. The husband chimed in and told his wife that there is no way to know if someone is a drug dealer. He told me he graduated from Tech in 1965 and was on the football team (very broad shoulders) then went into the Air Force. The wife went to Buckingham for two years, but some black girls verbally abused her and threatened to push her down the stairs so she transferred to Cathedral. Her husband told me that he has heard rumors that Peter Picknelly and David Starr have bought up a lot of land on the other side of I91, planning to make it into parking for the baseball stadium.

After that I went to the antique show at the the Eastern States grounds and bought 131 postcards for $260, which in today's market is quite good. Barbara Smith showed me a rare picture of Chicopee Street. She also told me that Antiques on Boland has bought out Cobalt Turtle Antiques. It was love at first sight when I saw an engraving of a rural English village gawking at a Punch and Judy show. Lydia Gadman told me she has never seen a hand tinted one before. They were asking $1,200 but I got them down to $950, tax included. On the way back, I came through Angelo's, made copies at the Boston Road Big Y, then to CVS where I saw Mr. Wilson and we exchanged pleasantries. Finally, I swung by Subway and bought a ham grinder with a dollar off coupon. When I got home I noticed that my mileage is at 97,017. The Union-News Extra was here and Dick N. was raking his Aldrew treebelt. I stood my new print up against the bushes and took a couple of pictures before putting it on the green sofa in the basement. Wonderful is the only word for it, the frame is a little beat up but what do you expect?

Hurwitz was on the TV40 early morning news saying that Six Flags "is expected to improve the economy of the entire Northeast." We were also shown the people that Mayor Albano has chosen for a committee to find a new location for the baseball stadium. The committee is headed by Councilors Tim Ryan and Bill Foley. The noon news had a story about the Fairfield Mall having financial problems as four tenants have moved out this year, including one that moved to the Eastfield Mall. Jason Russell, the weatherman, said snow is expected this weekend in Madison, Wisconsin. Eamon's phone editorial is urging people to write to Gaston Caperton, head of the College Board, and complain about their hiring of Peter Negroni. I called Eamon and he told me that he is not impressed with the Dean of the Council Brian Santaniello, calling him "a water-carrier for Mike Albano" as is Bud Williams and sometimes Tim Rooke. Eamon recalled that when Albano was on the Council "he made static for Mayor Markel every time he opened his mouth." At one point Eamon said of the newspaper and City Hall, "They're full of shit."

April 9, 2000

Lightning and thunder at 6:24am.

The third annual Springfield Arts Festival will be this coming weekend. The Great Barrington Artist's Co-operative will hold an open house March 25th at the Berkshire Dreams Gallery. Morton H. Baker is the President of the Club of Odd Volumes in Boston. Linda J. Schramn Antiques is in Brookfield, Connecticut.

Sorting tax papers for two hours this morning for the estate. Arrived back at the Antique Show at the Expo grounds at 11:14am. Virtually no traffic on the ride over but a lot of cars in the parking lot. I bought Knapp & Baldwin's Newgate Calendar from Andrew Nichols. He told me his father had been a Linotype operator for the Providence Journal. When I left there was a very light snow but falling constantly. By 3pm the snow had stopped leaving only a light coating on the flowers and bushes, but later I heard they got ten inches in Burlington, Vermont.

The newspaper has an editorial suggesting that Mayor Albano forget about a baseball stadium and focus on other ideas like a skating rink, aquarium or a pedestrian mall. Eamon's latest phone tape says that the elder Pellegrino got his judgeship through Jimmy Landers office and friends in high places. Eamon called tonight and said the thunder and lightning this morning upset his dog. Eamon's friend Dick Serkin, owner of Finestein Leather, used to ship leather supplies to over five hundred cobblers in New England, but now only about 75.

Eamon spoke with Advocate reporter Maureen Turner for about a half hour Friday afternoon. She was "asking all kinds of questions about Negroni." He also sent her Negroni's resume. She told him that she heard that Albano wants to take Chief Meara out of civil service and give her the highest salary in the city. He then told me how a big retirement party is being given for Spellacy the cop on Friday, May 26th at the Carriage House. Eamon sent the requested $30 donation, but doesn't like cops and has told Spellacy he won't be there. Eamon told me he saw Fran Gagnon on a cable channel saying that Hispanics are like the Irish, Polish and others who came earlier and had problems with the language. Eamon insisted that the Irish had no language difficulties, which is why they were able to pass civil service tests and get jobs.

April 10, 2000

Sunny and 46 degrees at noon.

A Marine aircraft crashed near Tuscon, killing a couple dozen men. That little Cuban kid in Florida is all in the news, I'm sick of hearing about him. A too free policy with immigrants has caused many problems for the USA.

When I got up at 6:30am there was a faint dusting of snow on the ground, but in NYC they got 8 inches. Out at 9am to make copies. There was an immense puddle right in front of CopyCat's door with no attempt made to clean it up. I mailed the tax form on Mother's estate and also sent mail to Maccabees, Ameritech and to Chicago regarding Baystate Gas. Drove to the Acres and got two forms notarized. Reardon couldn't do it and the other lady was not there so I had to wait for the manager who was busy doing something for somebody.

Then I drove into the city and parked in front of the Baptist church. I noticed a big For Sale sign on the building on the corner of Apremont Triangle and Chestnut Street opposite the Tarbell-Watters. It is completely empty on the first floor with the postal union upstairs. A couple of adjacent businesses are empty, the karate studio has moved onto Main. Feinstien Leather is still going, but adjacent stores are empty. A inventory of empty business places downtown would be appalling.

When I got back my phone ID said a Sherman L. Rose called, so I called them back and a woman said I had the wrong number. I replied, "It was you, Madam, who had the wrong number!" Then I hung up. The mail came at 1:50pm. ConAgra replied with free coupons to my complaint that their dinners are expensive with only pennies worth of food in them. My royalties for my book Curiosities and the Law of Wills came today for $6.80. Lawyer's Alcove produced $6.50 in royalties. My Famous Divorces of All Ages has sold only 40 copies so far, which is below the 75 I need to sell in order to collect royalties.

Dined earlier today on PopTarts, orange juice, soup and a sandwich. Tonight I dined on creamed beef on potato and somewhat bedraggled artichokes. Anita Wilson and Dan Elias were both guilty of mispronouncing words on tonight's newscast. The news also reported that the average person spends $900 per year on coffee. How nice that I'm not average. Jerome Winegar is out at Commerce, in part because of the attendance records that were leaked to Eamon which he used to blow the whistle loud and clear and put pressure on Negroni. The attendance problem is systematic in the Springfield Public Schools, but Negroni figured he would cover his ass by getting rid of Winegar and declaring the problem solved, case closed and claim that Eamon's complaints are in need of no further inquiry.

I went to the City Council meeting tonight to back Michaelann Bewsee in her efforts to get ward representation on the ballot. I parked by the Civic Center and when I went inside had a nice chat with Councilor Lewis-Caulton. I told everybody I was willing to make a speech if anyone wanted me to but no one said anything. Bewsee did thank me for coming. Fred Whitney was standing out in the hallway and politely said, "Hello, Attorney Miller." Marshall Moriarty also politely said hi. Maureen Turner was sitting way on the other side of the room wearing jeans and a grey sweater. Did I see the twinkle of a diamond on her finger? Yes I did! One man had a t-shirt that read "Nixon had his Watergate, Clinton had his Monicagate and Albano had his Northgate." I spoke with Verne McArthur of Human Services at Springfield College, who was somewhat aloof.

Media One does the video of the council meetings. A white haired lady spoke at the citizen speakout claiming that the quality of the Springfield libraries are such that she brings her kid to the Wilbraham Library to do his homework. Bewsee and her friends were there in good numbers and were all excellent speakers. Not all the councilors wee there to listen as the public spoke, Tim Rooke seemed to think he was too important to listen to any of them. Lewis-Caulton delivered a very fine speech, as did Michaelann. Bill Foley churned out a lot of smoke about how it is too risky to change to a ward system because we don't know what problems we may be headed toward. In the end they approved the referendum but made it non-binding. When I left I noted Joe Carvalho and Emily Bader were sitting in the front row. I chatted with Frank Buntin and Yusif Mohammad outside City Hall. Buntin said Ann Southworth is being pushed by some to be the new superintendent now that Negroni is leaving. Yusif said he favors a nationwide search for Negroni's replacement. While we were talking Brenda Branchini walked past and waved.

April 11, 2000

Rain, 38 degrees at 7am.

Only 66 copies of my book Legal Laughs have been sold, I need to sell 75 to start collecting royalties. The phone rang today and there was no voice on the other end so I told them this constitutes harassment and can result in legal action. The line went dead.

Today I completed and mailed my Federal income tax, no state taxes were due. Kelly put out some nice magazines in her trash which I took. The garage bell rang and I went out and it was Nader the Hatter bringing me some Mary Waller books he got on sale. He told me he perused my Coke in Verse book and commented on its esoteric nature. I showed him my new Punch and Judy print, he said it is in remarkable condition with no staining. I recalled that the last time he came he brought me Barrow's Famous Poems (1931). This time I showed him the book to which it is a companion, Barrow's One Hundred Best Poems for Boys and Girls (1930) which was given to me by my Fifth grade teacher Eleanor V. Johnson. Nader said he doesn't know when he'll be returning to Florida, but not any day soon.

A woman called looking for the Human Resources Department. I hung up. Out at 11am and made copies, then over to Angelo's and bought lots of fruit. There were about a dozen people waiting in line to check out. The cashier told me that they get a lot of business in the morning but not in the afternoon. I headed downtown and parked in front of the parsonage on Salem and walked down the hill. There were no posters around nor newspapers in the trash cans. The old Zeller site is now a by the month parking lot. For the first time in ages I actually got a free copy of BusinessWest at the Chamber of Commerce. At the tax office there were four personnel on hand and I was waited on promptly. Out in the lobby I found a whole pile of paper towels on the floor and called out, "Did somebody lose some paper towels?" A security guard appeared and suggested that maybe they fell off one of the custodial carts and gestured for me to give them to him. I told him that since I am serving him, not he me, it behooved him to come towards me to take the towels.

Then into Congressman Neal's office briefly, a Dunbar Community Center Capital Campaign brochure was the only freebie on the table in Neal's office where a thin, black lady sat at a typewriter. Next I headed to Antiques on Boland Way and we talked about the demise of Cobalt Turtles. He showed me a toothpick holder with the Mt. Holyoke Summit House on it, but for $65 it was too high. Chet Janis, Executive Director for the Cooperating Colleges of Greater Springfield, had his feet up on the desk while reading. Nice work if you can it. He said he will send me a copy of their booklet, and says he has an office at Springfield College but no secretary. I stopped at Subway where Shkena made me a deli-baloney, then I walked around a bit and on Dwight a guy came along and asked if I had 50 cents so he could buy some cigarettes. I directed him to First Church who I said will give you all the help you need. He said they won't give him cigarettes and disappeared down an alley.

While I was out, Chemlawn left some paperwork in the handle of the breezeway door. I recall that towards the end, Mother was determined to buy a rider mower for me, but I dissuaded her several times. Walking the mower around is the best exercise I get. On TV Nancy Dell warned against taking too many vitamins. The news also said that the Big Dig is "a bottomless tunnel with no light at the end of it." Tony Cignoli was on saying that the project began under Gov. Dukakis but the present governor should be held responsible for straightening things out. He spoke of a domino effect if the Big Dig project should fail, but as I told the Valley Advocate last year, the collapse of Monarch was the first domino that fell.

Eamon called and said Tom Devine called to listen to his phone editorial twice today. He also said John O'Brien of WAQY invited him to come on the radio sometime and he consented to do so. Eamon told me he watched the Council meeting last night on TV but complained that the sound wasn't very good. I'll bet he saw me in the audience but didn't say so. Eamon then expressed the opinion that Ann Southworth is the smartest person in the School Department, but Negroni assigned her to Putnam hoping she would fail. Instead, she succeeded in turning Putnam into the best run high school in the city. He also said he spoke to Gingras the teacher who told him that at least 500 kids are absent at Commerce every day without fail and nothing can be done about it.

April 13, 2000

Overall a nice day, 47 degrees at 9am.

Do the little jobs before the big so you will have nothing on your mind to distract, but always buy the expensive things first, then go without the cheap junk you don't need such as coffee and newspapers. The list of things you don't need is endless.

The City Council wants to increase the fine for parking illegally in a handicapped space. My oil tank is now on .125 on the button. I got through the winter using a minimum of oil. John Drysdale, a reporter for the Springfield Union in the 1940's, has died at age 94. Friendly's stock is unusually high at 5.4. The Mars nightclub is located on Worthington next to the Mardi Gras. George and Carolyn Malley own Add-More Books and Antiques in Danville, Virginia. Lynne Alexandrowicz is Marketing Director for Orchard Valley, a senior living community in Wilbraham.

I consider myself a talented generalist. The trash was picked up before 7am. There was precipitation last night, raining so gently that the pavement was not wet under the pine tree across the street. Went to Fleet in the Acres and couldn't get right into my safety deposit box because someone was in the only room they have because the second one is being used for storage. Fortunately, the lady came out promptly so I went and put in some large stock certificates, found the photocopy of the 1973 car title and took out three 1980 thousand dollar bonds. Eva Wiseman processed them. She said the bank will be moving across the street where Bank of Boston is sometime this summer, adding that they will be at their current location until at least July 28th. She said that Santos, whom I know from Shawmnut, is very good but unfortunately she only works part time.

From there I went next door and ordered a case of Bristol Creme. Swung by Angelo's for an avacado, then dropped off material on Mrs. Staniski's back door. When I got back I went to the Penniman's and rang the bell. Mrs. Penniman was friendly but declined my offer of magazines, saying of her husband, "He's having a very hard time now." When I got back I dined on artichokes and the rest of the creamed beef on potato.

Unknown called and I didn't answer. Eamon called and said he has been changing his phone editorial every day because there is so much dirt surfacing "it's like a candy store of scandal!" Eamon said sources told him that two years ago at a crackhouse in Six Corners, a narc squad spotted Raipher's younger brother John Pelligrino coming out. As the officers approached, Julian ran to his car and sped away, endangering the life of a sergeant who threw himself on the hood of the car. They caught him, but immediately his mother Kathleen Peligrino was on the phone to Chief Meara and no charges were filed. Kathleen is some sort of engineer who was the key point person in getting Paula Meara her job as chief. He hear Kathleen was "a real pain in the ass" on the Police Commission. Although no longer on the Commission, she still spends a lot of time in Meara's office. When Meara is out, Kathleen sometimes even sits at the Chief's desk! Eamon also told me he finally got a list of the City Councilors who have nicknames: "Bloopers" Foley, "The Dean" Santaniello, Tim Ryan is "The Altar Boy," Bud Williams is called "Mugsy," Dom Sarno is "The Truant Officer" and Ken Shea is "The Bishop."

I Called Heritage Hall and got Mary Ellen, who said that Aunt Maria is "doing good." She said Shirley "always comes to see her" and that Aunt Maria gets around with a walker and a wheelchair. Next I called Karen Powell, who said that Maureen Turner is indeed engaged. I told Karen to pass along to Mo my congratulations and blessings. Then I called Tom Devine at 10:30pm but his mother said he wasn't home. She apologized for her weak voice, saying her sinuses are bothering her. I got Tom directly at 11:45pm. He had not heard that Maureen Turner is engaged, but said he knew she was dating Sean Glennon, who is a music writer for the Valley Advocate. Tom told me he has a copy of Sweeney's baseball decision but not of the bond prospectus so I told him I would lend it to him.

I asked Tom if he has heard from the Twig Painter, but he said no. I told him I liked the latest Ogulewicz Chronicle critical of Richie Neal. Tom says he has known Karen Powell for a long time but agreed that I probably know her better than he does. Finally, Devine recalled how at the time of the defeat of the first casino referendum, Charlie Ryan appeared on the front page of the paper holding a cardboard Peter Pan bus and laughing. The photograph allegedly enraged Peter Picknelly. When the baseball stadium was killed by Judge Sweeney, the Powells bought Charlie a big baseball trophy. However, Ryan refused to be photographed with it, fearful of provoking a similar backlash.

April 15, 2000

Sprinkling at 12:25pm. Gas is $1.46 in 16 Acres.

The Dow is down. Maintenance workers in Los Angeles are on strike. Justice for Janitors! Fern L. Zipse, a longtime Music Education Director in the Springfield schools, has died. She joined the Springfield school system in 1948 and was named Music Education Director in 1957 and retired in 1981. Fern Zipse, allegedly a lesbian, was my music teacher at Homer Street School. Orchard Valley at Wilbraham is owned and operated by Benchmark Assisted Living.

WFCR was trying to be clever this morning by saying it was "42 minutes before the hour" instead of 18 minutes after the hour. My forsythia are in full bloom. Out at 10am and hung some reading material on the Cohn's back doorknob. I haven't seen much of them lately. Made copies at CopyCat and then dropped off the bond prospectus at Devine's on Breckwood. Then over to Forest Park, leaving my resume with Beverly at Ludlow Bank en route. Next to the clock man is a door that goes into the basement of the Serenity Club.

Went downtown to the Main post office to put out the mail, including Mother's Massachusetts estate income tax. There were lots of cars at Northgate Plaza, it is a more vibrant business district than most of downtown. When they say it is rundown, that is a cynical reference to the sort of people who trade there, not the condition of the buildings. I ran into Scott Santaniello in the parking lot. He was wearing a blue, somewhat dirty coverall that had Union-News on it. I said, "You must be working for David Starr." He replied, "I'm working for Mr. McDermott." Where the Charles and Cooley hotels were located there is one of those "little park for for a little while." The miniature version of the old trolley station built by the kids at Putnam has been relocated from the Quadrangle to the far back of the park. The large cement "C" that was the keystone of the Hotel Charles is planted in a mound in front along Main with greenery around it.

Workmen were all over the sign in front of the Paramount, but when I went by later I saw nothing changed about it. I walked down to City Hall with my tax bill but found I had written the check 96 cents short, which I paid in cash to a little, black lady. I also got a deli-baloney grinder at Subway. More wooden decorations have fallen off the Fuller Block. Kay Man is gone from where he was but the Tower Square newsletter Square One says he is moving in there. Square One is a good name for their newsletter because downtown is back to square one. Tower Square was having a photo exhibit with some good entries. Drove up to the Quadrangle and dozed in the parking lot for a while, then walked into the library. The Quadrangle is all dug up for the installation of new water piping. I walked around Rice Hall thinking about how it has changed. On the way home shopped at Big Y with triple coupons and was greeted with a smile by Sal Anzolotti. He asked if I would be working the polls this year. I replied I wasn't sure and wished him a Happy Easter. No tag sales around.

Back home I was gathering items for the Goodwill and found 24 pairs of shoes that Mother bought at McCrory's, Zayre's and Bradlees, most of them with their price tag still on them. Mother wore size 5 shoes and 16 to 18 size dresses, I have saved some of her favorite and nicest ones. In the front closet I found brand new coats, never worn, plus Father's best suit. I threw out half but saved the rest. I don't want to get rid of all my parent's things, a little clutter is good because it makes it easier to hide things. Heard nothing from Karen Powell today. I left a message for Leonard Collamore alerting him to a new book about Columbus. Eamon called and said his power went off last night but was fine this morning. He will be visiting his sister in Agawam tomorrow. I told him about the Robb Report I am willing to lend him with ads for luxury watches in it and he sounded eager to see it.

April 17, 2000

Very cloudy at 5pm.

Anti-World Bank people are acting up in Washington and the cops mistakenly fired tear gas at them. Play it again, baby! The Census Bureau is advertising for workers. I turned off the furnace yesterday and it's a tad chilly in the house, but I'm not burning any more oil until fall. It was 52 degrees in the house this morning, which is chilly, not cold. I'm told that the renovations underway at the Indian Orchard Library are quite lavish, and I wonder if that's because J. Carvalho is from that area and if so that's okay. I take a vitamin pill but not everyday because they say too many vitamins can be bad.

Mother had a key made at Haberman Hardware on High Street in Holyoke on July 12, 1989. Mother liked Haberman's because it was a tidy version of an old fashioned hardware store. Father always had in his wallet a trimmed and terribly worn 1923 calendar and a worn picture of me as a little boy holding a toy I don't remember having, by the steps of 37 Crest Street.

Out at 8:30 and dropped off a big box of stuff for Eamon. First, I had a breakfast of hotcakes without the sausage at the McDonald's on Allen Street. Eamon said he has had a lot of new callers since the Advocate mentioned him in Turner's article. He has satisfied them by changing his taped editorials frequently. His phone ID shows two calls yesterday from a P. Albano in East Longmeadow at 525-1570. He looked in the directories but can't identify them.

Then I went to the Palm Sunday services at Trinity and found the place well filled with Mrs. Goad preaching. Her sermons are never printed. Then I left a load of stuff with the Sunday book lady at Goodwill. I drove out to Bridgeport Binding, which has a tiny foyer enclosed with windows. The office has three chairs, an end table, a water fountain on granite blocks and several pots of ferns and ivy. I had wait ten minutes for Vice President Bruce F. Jacobson to come and tell me they would charge $100 to frame my Punch and Judy picture and $30 for the Newgate calendar. He said they would be ready in four weeks.

Then over to Jeff Cohen the picture framer and left off the ripped San Francisco poster which he will mount and frame for $190. A Jewish couple from Pittsfield were there, redeeming a $75 gift certificate they got from a TV57 auction. They were using it to frame a very nice piece of family needlework. Jeff showed them a new kind of glass that doesn't glare like regular glass. He also showed us a picture of his little red car with a window busted where a turkey flew into it, and a picture of Pete Seeger playing with his choral group. Jeff told me his sister runs the Leonard Gallery.

On the way home I saw Mr. Cohn sitting in a chair in his driveway. He said he's been fine, he and his wife just got back from visiting relatives in California. He said he doesn't see much of Zachary. He also said I didn't have to write him "a love note" for the issues of The Economist he gave me. I replied that I was brought up the right way, as do those who who do business the right way, but as to others I am in their face!

When I got home, I heard the end of the St. Matthew passion on WFCR. I called Karen Powell and it was she who answered, but I thought I could hear Bob moving around in the background. I told her I was going to Commerce 2000 and she said she's never been to one. I told her it is worthwhile to go because you can pick up information. Karen said once again that she is against ward representation because people like Cheryl Rivera would get their flunkies in and cause problems. She said Bill Foley asked her to be on the baseball stadium search committee, but she declined because she considers the effort a waste of time. I mentioned what Tom Devine told me and she admitted that they had given Charlie Ryan a baseball trophy and Ryan didn't want it to get in the press. Supporters also surprised the Powell's with their own trophy, but she said nothing was given to the Valley Advocate although Karen said they thanked Maureen Turner very warmly for all her help.

I had asparagus on toast and minestrone soup for dinner today.

April 18, 2000


"If you can't beat them with footnotes, baffle them with bullshit." - Eamon T. O'Sullivan.

Fleet Bank has branch locations at the East Springfield Stop&Shop on Liberty Street, on Cabot Street in Chicopee and Main Street in Springfield in the North End. Roy J. Lever is Fleet's Executive Vice President. Doris W. Madin was a secretary for the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Company in Worcester in 1971.

Out at 9:45 wearing slacks and a tweed sports coat for the the Tuesday Morning Music Club concert and lunch with Belle-Rita Novak. When she arrived she said she was parked in a corner of the Homer Street School playground, wearing a jean coat over a red Main Street National Convention at Boston t-shirt with black slacks. She looked quite good. Belle-Rita asked if I went to the First Church concert on Sunday and I replied no, I'm busy and can't go to everything. She expressed disappointment that the census never called her about working for them.

Novak told me about the Boston convention, which had seminars on things like street fairs, niche ethnic businesses and small business development. There were only five people besides herself from Springfield at the event. According to her, the Bing Theater revival project is struggling after a lady pledged a lot of money then pulled out because the theater needs more repairs than expected. She never thought the Bravo arts organization was up to the task, but believes someone will eventually restore it. The Food Mart at the X is also having trouble, having lost their middle-class customer base. Belle-Rita is an excellent conversationalist and a most intelligent woman who graduated from UMass in 1986 and is always pleasant to be with.

Belle-Rita sat on one side of me and on the other was a mature woman, husband deceased, who was brought up in Dexter, Maine and thinks well of Colby. She was married in Wesley Church in the Square by Rev. Johnson, so I told her about the decline of the church. She worked as an elementary school teacher in Westfield and knows Arthur Gingras. Mrs. Staniski was there, but didn't stay for the luncheon, which consisted of a large plate of tossed salad with two little tomatoes, several black olives, a couple of pepper rings, three slices of cucumbers and a nice, lemony sauce. The main course was some long green beans, steamed but not well done, potatoes and a filet of fish. A picture perfect lunch! For dessert they had brown bread with a scoop of ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry on top. I told Belle-Rita how my Aunt Jennie always advocated eating your dessert first so would always have room for it.

Belle-Rita had to leave at 1:30pm. On my way home, I swung by the Eastfield Mall to collect the free Easter Egg they advertised. Mine was purple with a pink rabbit on it, just right. There were lots of kids in the mall, it must be school vacation week. The Old Navy store looks just like the one at the Ingleside Mall, but with less merchandise in it.

A letter arrived today from Leon Gutterman today thanking me for the book I sent him, "I wish to thank you for your gift of the fascinating book The Reports of Sir Edward Coke In Verse. It was most gracious of you to inscribe it to me and I have inscribed a volume of God's Wisdom and the Holy Bible to you. May I add that the introduction you wrote to the Coke book is not only immensely interesting but truly brilliant. I congratulate you warmly on your admirable literary and legal achievement. Every lawyer and library in our country ought to have your book. You have done the legal profession a great service by giving it Coke's wisdom."

April 20, 2000

Overcast and 47 degrees at 6:35am.

There was a small earthquake in the Adirondacks that could be felt in the Berkshires. My shipment from Gutterman and his Wisdom Hall of Fame came today. I tried all the doorbells and despite my hearing loss could hear them okay. The mail came down the street an hour late at 11:26, arrived here at 1:30pm. My $10,000 property tax abatement came today, so I immediately called Karen Powell, who said they haven't heard yet on their abatement application. She says her taxes are paid by the bank so may not be paid until May 1st and an abatement is granted on a money first please basis.

I drove out after 10am and cashed a check at Fleet in the Acres, then paid my taxes for Wilbraham at the town offices. I swung by my cottage at Fernbank and all is secure. I took some pictures of the forsythias and lilies. Some kids around 12 came riding up King Drive, so I took their picture and they told me they are from Three Rivers and bike in that area "all the time." Skropski Gas Station is now completely redone, with a fancy brick building with Mobil/F.L. Roberts/2780 Boston Road over the front door. Adjacent to it is a very nice Touchfree Car Wash with two lanes.

The news said that Hartford has had the lowest response rate to the census of any city. Next lowest was Newark, the home of the Newhouse Newspapers. Someone named Carvella called from the Census and invited me to attend three days training starting Monday. I told them I would think it over for a day. I called Belle-Rita Novak and wished her a Happy Passover, then told her about the call I got from the census. She still has heard nothing. I then called the Wilbraham Town Planner at 596-2806. He told me has been in contact with Jim Carlin and would present the realignment of Maynard Road to the Town Meeting in May. He said he could present it to the legal department by July. Jolene in Boston called asking if I wanted to subscribe to Newsweek. I asked her not to call again. I called Fleet and complained about my account being transferred. Chatted with Mrs. Staniski, who asked me about the Tuesday Morning Music Club lunch and later told me she couldn't believe "the gall" of Mayor Albano in trying to take Northgate, saying he acted like he was a president instead of just a mayor.

Called Aunt Maria's house and a woman answered so I hung up, thinking I had the wrong number. I called again, and the same woman answered, telling me she was Shirley Huang. I said, "Oh, the Korean minister's wife?" She replied that I was correct, she is Shirley Whittier Huang from Ohio. I told her I recalled Ruth saying something about getting a relative to come. Huang knows Ruth but not Edith Michaud. I informed her that Aunt Maria was very grateful for the time her husband shoveled the snow for her, then mentioned that I used to do a lot of chores for Aunt Maria, but since she accused me of murdering my Mother I have followed her affairs from a distance by calling her caretakers to monitor how she is. However, the murder accusation has given me license to do nothing for her.

I explained to Shirley about Maria's mood and attitude problems and said there have been questions about her competence at some points. I asked if Aunt Maria was coming home for Easter and she said she wasn't sure and "we are taking it day by day." She told me they are trying to get the house livable and Shirley Lucia did go through the clothes and threw some of them out. I mentioned the missing gold beads and urged her to save my archives trunk, the spinning wheel in the attic and any pictures that are mine. I told her I have sent Aunt Maria an Easter card and urged Shirley to call me anytime. Next I called Heritage and spoke to Aunt Maria's nurse Bonnie who said, "Yesterday she had a wonderful improvement in her labs" and may be able to come home soon. Unknown rang six times. I ignored it.

Called Eamon and chatted a bit. I told him about my abatement and Eamon said his disabled vet status gets him an abatement worth $600, but he has to apply each year. I also told him about the census calling me and he said that if he got a job with the census he would want to work in the office rather than canvassing out in the field. "You get more gossip that way," he explained. He liked the Robb Report and contacted some of the watch companies featured. He thinks Gutterman and his Wisdom Award are a gyp and a fraud. I said maybe, but I might be able to use it sometime. He scoffed and said, "You have enough credentials and don't need anymore."

April 21, 2000

Sometimes raining, 57 degrees at 12:30pm.

Last night on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Hugh Hefner said he was brought up a Methodist. They also had two male twins on with collars around their neck, tank tops and leather shorts on. The Pilgrim Society has decided against merging with the Plymouth Antiquarian Society. Rep. Paul Caron's 14th Annual Breakfast will be on May 7th at St. Anthony's Parish Hall on Island Pond Road. No Union-News Extra came today. The Cooperating Colleges of Greater Springfield consist of A.I.C., Springfield College, Bay Path, STCC, Elms, WNEC, Holyoke Community and Westfield State.

I picked up litter in the front berry patch and raked along the street. Kelly drove by and waved. My spring clean-up is now complete. Out this morning around 9am, made copies at CopyCat and put out the mail. Today I sent mailings to Aunt Maria, Mrs. Staniski, Beck, Helen Miller, the Vermont Historical Society, Garrett, Pritchard and William Kelly of the CUNY English Department. Then I went to Angelo's and got flowers (pansies, six for $1.69) and some fruit.

I've been hauling things down from the attic, worthless items such as rags, shoes, several boxes of manila envelopes, the list goes on. Mother never threw away any clothing, so there were old pajamas and underwear meant to be used for rags, lots of pairs of sneakers and ladies plastic boots. About half the shoes were brand new and never used and there were 14 pairs of never used boots. Some shoes were in plastic bags. Tucked into a box of shoes was a big bag of girdle garters from the days when Mother wore a girdle. Mother bought so much that it actually made more sense to buy more when needed than have to root around trying to find what she had bought before and squirreled away who knows where.

Dined today on a Swanson Fish Filet Dinner. Lasteria Thomas from the Census called and asked if I could work part time. She said the training sessions will be next week Monday-Thursday at Mrs. Clancey's Restaurant and Pub on Cottage Street. She said they are looking for people to canvas East Forest Park, East Longmeadow and Wilbraham. I told her how someone from my family has worked in the census each time for the last hundred years. She had a nice, bubbly, real estate lady personality and said I could take a little more time making up my mind.

Called Mary Ellen at Heritage, who told me that Aunt Maria has been discharged as of today. I thanked her for the care they had given her. Karen called and said her request for an abatement was denied, but she will appeal. They valued her house at $95,000. Eamon called and told me he has gotten the city to regrade and plant some of his tree belt. Eamon gets all he can out of the city. Eamon claims his anti-Starr phone editorial brought listeners from two law firms, Winniman & Winniman and Doherty-Wallace. Unknown rang six times and hung up just as I picked up.

April 22, 2000

Overcast and 46 degrees at 7am.

Today is the 30th Anniversary of Earth Day. I remember it at Madison, Wisconsin, they had booths along State by Brom's and Rennier Drug Store dispensing ecological literature. I'm sure I collected it. Early today Elian Gonzales was seized in what I thought was a totally appropriate proceeding. They showed a picture of him smiling brightly at the reunion with his dad, which is the best advertisement for sending him back to Cuba.

Richard J. Prochnow is the Veteran's Agent for the Town of Wilbraham. The Friends of the Libraries Board of Directors consists of Helen Cohn, Mary Napolitan, Doris O'Leary, Gladys Oyola and Mary Rivest. Their next meeting will feature Janet Kelly of the Read/Write/Now Adult Learning Center. That meeting sounds like a real bore. The regular Saturday mailman came by at 11:30am, but there was no First Class mail, not even an Easter card from Mrs. Staniski.

Today I spent most of the day in the attic, bringing down handbags and more dresses and took them to the Goodwill. I also brought down the immense box of rags Mother had collected and will put it out with the trash. I threw out all the manila envelopes except one box, as well as a lot of glass and aluminum. I found a pair of black galoshes with metal buckles that I had as a child, but the rubber was dried out so they had to go. Mother intended to start cleaning the attic herself, but then fell into her final illness. I finished everything I wanted to get done and have brought the attic to where it is no longer impassable. I can now work on the remaining areas one at a time and gradually thin things out. My philosophy is to save the best of Mother's clothes and discard what is worthless.

I took the Goodwill 25 purses this time, a number of them brand new. On the way I stopped at the Big Y for milk and juice. I made copies at Pride in the Acres, where there was a tall old man in front of me. He told me he had 18 pages to copy and offered to let me go ahead. I said, "I can see that your are a fine old gentleman and a Christian, but don't be a sucker. You are first and should finish your job, I can wait." It turned out he was a retired minister of the UCC, connected with the North Wilbraham church, copying wedding ceremony text. When he finished he very politely thanked me for waiting.

Today I dined on ham, cabbage, red potatoes, onions and carrots. I got a polite wrong number from Thomas J. McGowan, who gets a gold star for promptly apologizing. Called Eamon's phone editorial and today he is saying how none of the Newhouse papers have ever won a Pulitzer Prize. I called him and praised his editorial and he asked me if I knew how many papers the Newhouses currently have. I told him I could probably find the answer but I'd have to drop everything and I'd rather focus on my housecleaning. Eamon told me to not be selective and toss everything, like his sister did when she cleaned out his mother's stuff.

April 23, 2000

Heavily overcast, 46 degrees at 7am.

Today is Easter Sunday. Father always bought his personal office supplies from the Monarch Supply Department. Father bought, he did not swipe. WFCR is observing Shakespeare's birthday today. I wrote to Richard Wightman Fox and James T. Kloppenberg at Boston University and Brandeis respectively, but the letter to Fox came back in yesterday's mail Return to Sender with word that Professor Fox "not found."

In the attic today I found seven rolls of wallpaper for my parent's bedroom bought at Serv-U in 1977 that was never put up. Part of the reason was that the original paper was so beautiful that Mother didn't want to cover it over. I went to the Breckwood Shops and put out the mail. At Louis & Clark the Easter candy was already discounted and I bought some. The raspberry filled eggs from Schrafft's that used to be a quarter apparently are no more. They only had eggs that were the flavor of standard candy bars so I bought none. Then I drove to the Allen Street McDonald's and got two cheeseburgers at 49 cents each and read the paper. In the Acres, the Goodwill was closed today. At the 16 Acres Library, I peered through a window at the darkened interior.

Back home, I called Aunt Maria's and got Shirley Whittier. She told me she took Aunt Maria to church today and met Edith, whom she hopes to get to know better. She said Aunt Maria is doing quite well, better than expected, she is alert and knows people. I offered to speak to Aunt Maria but Shirley didn't want to get her upset. She told me that the Lucia's have the cat, Fritz. I told Shirley that she has a cordial invitation to visit me anytime, but to call first as I may be having summer lectures. I also read her Dorrene's card and suggested the courteous thing would be to reply.

I worked in that the people next door are getting the land for looking after Aunt Maria, so I don't know why others such as herself had to be called in, but assured her I wish her well and to feel free to call if I can help in any way. I also told her about my 15,000 volume library and told Shirley that I can loan her things not easily available. She expressed amazement at how many books I have. I promised to be in touch regularly but not too frequently. She made a crack about how she's only been here a week and I have already called four times. Shirley did wish me a Happy Easter, but didn't mention the Easter card I sent to Aunt Maria.

In the evening I watched Antiques Roadshow. They were in Toronto at the world's largest shoe museum. They also discussed antique beer trays but did not give prices. Then I called Nader the Hatter, who is leaving for Florida on Friday. He proposed we get together some morning this week. I initially got his sister, who I have never spoken with before. I then called Eamon, who told me that the U.S. Secretary of Education gets $145,000 per year, the Superintendent in Boston gets $87,000, but Dr. Negroni is getting $160,000. That's ridiculous.

April 24, 2000

Breezy and chilly, 46 degrees at 7am.

Today is the 200th Anniversary of the Library of Congress and the 85th Anniversary of the genocide in Armenia. There is talk of breaking Microsoft into three entities. L.A. janitors may strike by tonight for $6.90 per hour. There were Serv-U Stores on both Saint James Avenue and Dickinson Street in 1977. Mary Gauthier was head of the Master Charge Department at First Bank and Trust Company of Hampden County in 1974. Harold A. Smith was Vice President of the Springfield Institution for Savings in 1973. Ganlay and Crook were located at 1200 Main Street in 1956. Philip R. Smith was a Notary Public in 1956. My parents bought this house on Birchland in 1956.

Lots of mail today, but nothing from the Census. Drove out at 8:50am and made copies at Pride in the Acres, after getting today's newspaper out of the trash receptacle in front of Louis & Clark. At the Goodwill, the lady behind the desk had behind the counter leaning against the wall, two framed prints of Indians with no price on them. They looked like they might be hand tinted. I told her to take them out of their frames which were too modern. She said she was getting them for her nephew who likes Indians. I said nothing, but the paintings were obviously an example of how the workers set aside the real goodies for themselves. At least she should have been smart enough to face the images against the wall.

I called Marty Kerson, Regional Director for Easter Seals, to complain about the free address stickers they sent me that don't stick. She said the stickers are sent out by the national organization in Chicago and gave me their address. Nader the Hatter called at 10:45am and said he expects to be busy this week. He told me his father is grouchy and in bad physical shape, then suggested we meet at the Quadrangle and he'll show me how to use the internet on the computers in Rice Hall. I agreed and then headed down to the main library. Inside they had an exhibit about Carnegie libraries. I asked the Rice Hall librarian, a chubby woman I've never seen before, if she's ever heard of G. Thomas Tanselle. She claimed to have heard the name, then checked to discover that they have copies of his editions on Melville and that's all. She told me Tanselle was born in 1934.

When the Hatter arrived, we sat at a computer and he showed me how to use it, but I've already forgotten most of it. He offered to set up a Hotmail account for me, but we did not do so. After our hour was up, a lot of students were coming in so I proposed we go to lunch. With decorous reluctance, Nader permitted himself to be persuaded and we drove separately over to the Hometown Buffet in West Springfield. On the way there, I noticed they are putting a new theater onto Showcase Cinemas. Nader was a little late because he stopped at the post office on the way over. We each had the liver and onions special, and were dining in the dead of the afternoon which was a quiet, pleasant experience. However, the caliber of the clientele at Hometown Buffet isn't as high as you get at Friendly's. We left around 4pm, but not before the Hatter gave me his address in Adventura, Florida. Nader expects to be away until August, but the situation with his father may change things. He said he hasn't seen Eamon at all this visit.

April 26, 2000

Lovely, sunny day, 44 degrees at 7am on the breezeway.

Sunday will be the 25th Anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. Throughout the ages the most important business of civilized people has been fighting wars. On WFCR this morning they read the last letters of soldiers killed during WWII. A notable feature of the letters they read is that they are in excellent English. A cop on the radio said, "Beat your wife and a cop shows up, beat your kid and you get a social worker." There was also a story about how schools don't teach kids how to handle money. Kids need to be taught that there are more jobs for ditch diggers and soldiers than corporate presidents. Jobs like Father's, high grade clerical, have disappeared entirely. The tough jobs remain but computers have eliminated the easy ones.

Governor H. Dean of Vermont has signed a gay civil unions bill effective July 5th. Today Mercy Hospital was conducting prostate screenings for free for city residents at Christ Church. I thought of going but didn't, maybe next time. I did manage to clean out the freezer, as I do once a year. The regular trashman came at 6:45am and took away a full dumpster, one bag of yard waste and Mother's broken old, wooden ironing board. The Reminder came this morning. I found a few magazines in Kelly's recycling box, including a Sports Illustrated addressed to Mrs. Judy Cates of Chicopee. I drove out at 8:50am to make copies for Ashley Shea.

I then headed downtown and parked in front of the Hispanic Minister's office and walked down into the city. I was wearing my lumberjack boots, orange bloomers, Northgate t-shirt, motorcycle jacket and my current queer hair-do. Unfortunately, my triangle earring had fallen off when I was putting on my clothing. I went to the Woronoco stockholder's meeting, which was brief. Muffins and coffee served, and there was a welcoming speech by bank President Cornelius Mahoney. There was no opportunity to ask questions, although the bank officers were circulating and Mahoney, who seemed to recognize me, did greet me personally. I also chatted with Steve Estee.

I soon left and headed over to the business fair at the Big E grounds. I usually walk around the fair twice, but I only made one round today. I took only a few freebies because most were the same as offered in previous years. No doubt that the best freebies run out early in the day and what's left is left. There were no phonebooks offered this time, very unusual. The PVTA gave out little clocks, but nothing with their 25th Anniversary logo and batteries not included. Eastfield Mall had a wheel you could spin to win a gift and I won a stop watch. They put it in an Eastfield Mall bag, which I have saved as part of my collection of local bags.

CopyCat was distributing jelly beans in little cups, rather disappointing. Five places were serving popcorn, I got mine from the Bank of Western Mass. Hampden Savings Bank was giving away large peppermint patties. The Carriage House was passing out brass clips with a likeness of the carriage house on them. I had a long talk with Fink of the Basketball Hall of Fame, he said they have no retail tenants lined up so far. Don Wesson of Veritech asked me if I use drugs. I said only Harvey's Bristol Creme. I told him my 14 ancestors who fought in the American Revolution were fighting for every American's right to get stoned in the manner of their choosing and called the War on Drugs "The Narc Employment Protection Act."

The Indian Orchard Main Street Corporation was passing out Titanic Museum brochures. Braman the termite guy smiled and asked me, "Atty. Miller, how are your termites?" From TV22 I got a coupon for a free foot-long Subway grinder, which is nice. At the TV40 booth Dave Madsen was hosting a local version of the TV game Who Wants to be a Millionaire only you couldn't win a million dollars. The guy at the Masslive booth said they have gone from 10,000 hits per month when they started to 5 million a month now. Although they have the same parent company, he said they have little contact with David Starr or Larry McDermott.

Back home I dined on fruit, a can of soup and chicken pot pie. The mail today brought word of stock fun and games at Ford and a Western New England College 2000 Summer Schedule of Classes. No postcard from the Census, and my abatement application was denied by Wilbraham. A woman from Milton Bradley called looking for Storrowtown and said she was sorry.

April 27, 2000

Raw and cold, 43 degrees at 8am.

London will be voting for their first popularly elected mayor and may elect someone more radical than the Prime Minister, Tony Blair. Mayor Guilliani announced today that he has prostate cancer. The stock market is down on fear of rising interest rates. Corporate Staffing Solutions is located on Westfield Street in West Springfield. Account Temps is located at One Monarch Place. Anthony L. Drapelick is a Managing Consultant for Drake Beam Morin in West Hartford. Eamon's street has been swept by the city, but mine has not.

This morning I planted my flowers and watered them. When I went out for the mail, I found a Wall Street Journal in my driveway addressed to Kelly Simpson, 15 Birchland Avenue. I left it at her house with a note congratulating her on her parson's bench. Drove out mid-afternoon and got the Union-News with the story about Pellegrino. The Valley Advocate has a similar story by Maureen Turner. The Advocate always does a better job. I stopped at Louis & Clark to put out the mail and picked up two copies of Tom Devine's Weekly Report. Next I swung by Tom Devine's house and left a bag for him of computer oriented stuff on his back porch.

Dined on corn, potatoes, ham and fruit. On TV22 they said the local census canvassers will be out starting tomorrow looking for people who didn't turn in a census form. Springfield had a 65% response rate. Rev. Loesch was briefly on camera. On TV40 Jim Polito did a story on the Civic Center. Hurwitz was on briefly saying they expect to select an architect within a week and "the minute construction begins there will be excitement throughout the valley." Guy McClain and John Pretola, the Quad archeologist, was on and had a broken piece of china they dug up on the Quadrangle lawn. Fran Gagnon was also on saying that MacDuffie in 1890 set up "the first high school for girls." Is that so? What about Boston?

Now that I have completed the tax forms, I notice I have stopped biting my nails. Jeff's Picture Frames called and my picture is ready for $161.70. Also got a wrong number from someone looking for Fisher Scientific. I called Margaret Goad at home and reached her on the third ring. She said she has my books in her office. We agreed that the local schools are in trouble and she restated her support for charter schools. I gave her Eamon's number and told her she should call him sometime. Donna calling for Orchard Valley in Wilbraham wanted to talk to me but I told her I don't like being called during the news. I got a call from a woman on Eastern Street and when I called back she refused to reveal her identity. I told her it was a matter of telephone courtesy and she hung up in my ear!

Called Mrs. Staniski and her answering machine has a somewhat snappy Ann saying, "Please leave a message after the beep," no formalities or identification that you've reached the right number. I called back a little later and Mrs. S. said she had just been down to the mailbox to send me a thank you note for my Easter card. On the way, she stopped to talk with her neighbor, an old man who gets Meals on Wheels three times per week and used to work for Mass Mutual. Mrs. Staniski spent Easter with Ann, but after she brought her home, it took Ann four hours getting back to Arlington, the longest it ever took her. I told Mrs. S. about Aunt Maria and she expressed surprise that Shirley hadn't called me first to tell me she was in town. We agreed it has been a cold spring. Mrs. S. takes no pills and thinks that hospitals are dangerous.

April 28, 2000

Overcast, raw, cold, wet, 47 degrees on the breezeway at 8am.

TV22 said today is the 25th Anniversary of the end of the war in Vietnam. The average age of the soldiers who died was 23, barely old enough to know much except how to follow orders. TV57 had a discussion about the anti-war movement featuring David Horowitz, Director of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture. Ho-hum. It costs $95 to advertise for three months on a PVTA van. The Hampden Inn is located on Riverdale Street in West Springfield.

I went to the Trinity Church tag sale at 10am. Melinda McIntosh was first in line, she later told me it was the worst sale Trinity has had that she can remember. I spoke briefly with Bob, the bearded, young, Jewish book guy who was just ahead of me in line. Also nearby was a cultivated woman who said she gave the Quadrangle 300 books for their booksale and described herself as a collector of children's books. One of her sons went to St. Michael's and the other to the University of Vermont. She told me she admires the generous character of Vermonters. I bought only a few books, one of which was a 1939 hymnal with a bookplate indicating it had been donated to Trinity in memory of Charles W. Jones by his wife Mary E. Jones.

Next I drove over to Eamon's to give him two bags of stuff, including a ruler and the Peppermint Patty I got at the business fair from Hampden Savings. He said he was "delighted with all the goodies" I gave him. From there I drove to Savers but bought nothing, their next half price sale is June 10th. Popular Club Plan, which used to be across from the Breckwood Shops by the barber shop and cinema, is now up near where the old Steiger's was at Liberty Plaza. On my way back, I stopped at Freihoffer's for donuts, bread and a cake, for which I spent less than five bucks.

Then to Eastfield Mall to redeem my $4.99 coupon for free food at the Mexican place, but they cheated me. All he did was take a round shell and dumped a handful of cheese in it, a few peppers and fried it. It was incredibly thin and served with a small orange soda. That's not even worth 99 cents and it is no incentive to come back! Mall Services were giving away a folding, plastic alarm clock similar to the one given away at the fair by PVTA.

When I got home, the mailman was doing the boxes on Ballard. Unknown rang five times but I didn't answer.

April 30, 2000

Absolutely lovely spring day, gas is $1.46 at Alden.

Miller's Corollary to the Golden Rule: If you mess something up, you make it right and compensate anybody who had any losses (of goods, money, time, rights) because of your mistake.

Cheating on overall performance tests in public schools has surfaced in New York, Texas, Connecticut and Kentucky. The May issue of the New Republic has a hippie on the cover. The Harvard alumni magazine for spring takes notice of my book Coke in Verse. That's good, Harvard has never really let me down. That's professionalism. Lyn M. Washington is the Membership Director for the Harvard Club of Boston.

Today I pulled 23 dandelions off the lawn. The Chemlawn killed a lot of Black-eyed Susans and some Golden Glow, but the dandelions survived. What did those Chemlawn people do except collect their money? I mailed letters to The Nation, Bush for President and the electric company. Then I went to Wesley United Methodist Church and picked up some of their current material. I got a flyer indicating that their Centennial Celebration will feature preaching by The Reverend Mark Goad, Rev. Alfred Johnson, Rev. J. Willard Cofield and The Rev. Amos L. Bailey. The church paper is no longer called The Courier. The new church has a nice dining room in the basement. The sanctuary looks okay with banners and pennants on the walls. Next I headed over to the Goodwill on Sumner Avenue and then to McDonald's.

I went to Fleet in the Acres and closed Mother's checking account. Then I headed down to Jeff the framer's to pick up my San Francisco poster, which he very nicely mounted. From there I went across the street to Sam's Glass Works, then across the bridge to the former Sears store where Bob's Discount Furniture was having an Open House. Bob himself was personally handing out t-shirts at the door. Bob is older than he looks on TV, thin, very working class, loud, quite a guy. The place is real nice with a showroom on the second floor and damaged pieces in the basement. The first floor must be their warehouse because it's closed off. There were salesmen all over the place and coffee and popcorn was served. Bob's TV commercials promise "a furniture shopping experience beyond expectations," which reminds me of the similar phrase falsely used by Hampden Bank.

Tonight I dined on hot dogs and spaghetti with meat sauce and peas. The mail was here a tad late with a thank you note from Belle-Rita Novak in beautiful handwriting. Still nothing from the Census lady or the cancer lady. I did get a Paradise City Arts Festival flyer. I spoke to Eamon briefly on the phone at 7pm and he told me his neighbor Moore has the largest collection of Civil War guns around. Jena Larivier mispronounced "Smithsonian" on TV40 tonight, so I called and told the station. The young fellow who answered thanked me for calling.