May 2000

May 2, 2000

Heavily overcast, 46 degrees at 8am. Gas is $1.43 across from Angelo's.

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Space waste from a rocket fell to Earth in South Africa today. Hilary Hahn the young violinist is playing in Hartford and they have been playing a number of recordings by her on WFCR. Today they played a concerto by Strauss. The Modern Language Association of America sponsors a short term medical plan developed especially to meet the temporary medical insurance needs of MLA members. President Woodrow Wilson visited France in 1918. Michael J. Harrington was the State Cancer Crusade Chairman in 1977.

I forgot to mention there was a citizen environmental cleanup crew working in the gully by Breckwood Pond Saturday. Yesterday I closed Mother's 16 Acres branch Fleet account which still had $414.15 in it. The Reminder was here first thing but the sun didn't come out until 10:30am. No street sweeper has been down Birchland this spring. Went out at 9:45am today and left off three military books with Mr. Lucius down the street. At the Breckwood Shops I found no empty cans or copies of the Union-News in the trash can in front of Louis & Clark. I mailed letters to Stanley and the Houghton Library. Next I went to Angelo's and Mr. Mancuso was there. He said he has planted a cherry tree and his wife is not doing good. Says he's 85. I asked him why do so many Italians run fruit stands and he said in the south of Italy they grow lots of fruits and vegetables.

Dined today on asparagus from Angelo's, noodles, hot dogs and an avocado. Did six loads of sheets and blankets in the wash and will do more tomorrow. The Punderson Oil man appeared today in truck 183 and I paid $122 for a hundred gallons. This time he put in just the right amount of oil. The delivery leaves the tank at just under half full. I have once again received the Whitcomb High School alumni circular even though Father is long dead and I have asked them to cut it out. They have also been told that Mother died. No letter from the Easter Seals lady. I called Gordon Paving and left a message about the cracks in the driveway. There is an ant hill in one of the cracks in the driveway already. ReMax Quality called but I didn't answer. Unknown called at 3:06pm but I did not answer.

I called Mrs Staniski late in the afternoon and told her about my visit to Wesley Church and she told me that in the old days they didn't even permit food in the Ladies Parlor. But when "Brother Joe" came things changed and he let kids jump up and down all over the furniture. TV57 had a program on about Vietnam saying America should only enter wars that are vital to the interests of the United States and have a clear military objective. Without a clear cut strategy for victory you can't get the total commitment of the American people. Colin Powell was on talking about understanding your objectives and Sen. J.F. Kerry of Massachusetts spoke about "the need to be honest with people" and how "the draft was uneven and unfair."

On TV22 they were talking about the Dr. Seuss statues and Joe Carvalho came on and said the statues will be casted in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He said people "will soon by dying to come here and experience this." Kathryn Shepardson reported on TV40 that 700 kids a day are skipping school. Now that Eamon has got the ball rolling, everyone is talking about the problem. Dom Sarno wants the City Council to vote to have the cops pick up truant kids and take them to an assessment center. The School Committee is also considering the matter. Dr. Negroni was on calling truancy "a community issue." Shepardson interviewed one kid who said he skips school about three days a week. I wonder if she is any relation to Phil Shepardson, the weatherman who makes jokes that are sick rather than funny?

Kansas City schools, which sound like ours, are no longer accredited by the state. 50% don't graduate and new buildings and social programs didn't make things any better. Money alone isn't the solution. Chatted with Eamon who said Nader the Hatter left today for Florida in a truck he rented. We talked education and once again Eamon called Negroni "a crisis manager" who only acts once a crisis occurs instead of trying to anticipate it and head it off. He says Negroni doesn't attack problems head-on. Eamon claims we need a superintendent who will confront problems with courage, creativity and co-operation. However, Eamon is afraid that even if we got such a leader, the Springfield school system may now be beyond the point of no return.

May 3, 2000

Absolutely beautiful day.

The London and Frankfort Stock Exchanges are to merge. Karen Brown of the WFCR Springfield Bureau reported that the city is declaring war on dumping. This morning WFCR played G.F. Handel's Sonata for Violin and Oboe. They said that the oboe was Handel's favorite instrument, I love it too.

Kelly mowed her lawn today. The trash man came early, but no one has come along to sweep Birchland Avenue. I'm trying to get everything organized. I have been sorting through the contents of Mother's Indian Orchard bank vault and came across documents from the years Mother was of service to the State Cancer Crusade. Today I did five loads of laundry, stripped the cot and folded it up, then typed up my invitations. I drove out to Pride in the Acres around 1:35pm to print them. Back home I sealed the invitations along with a letter to Tom Vannah, mailing them all out at Breckwood except for those I intended to deliver by hand. I wore my nice plastic suit, boots with laces and my biker jacket. While at Louis & Clark I bought the Hartford Courant because of an article on all the projects being funded by the Connecticut legislature.

The invitation reads in part, "In celebration of spring and to provide myself with incentive to complete spring housekeeping, I shall be at home the four Sundays in May from 2pm onward talking about art, street literature and books, especially in the context of pastoral, hip and progressive activities, history (especially 16 Acres) and law." I concluded with, "Unlike political events, you don't have to pay $100, though there is no cheap wine. It is a quasi-academic event and you are invited to bring a notepad. Dress as informal as you dare or the law will allow." Among those I invited were Rev. Goad, Bill Foley, Hurwitz, Peter Picknelly, Peter Johnson, Russ Denver, Roy Scott, Tom Devine, Tim Ryan, Lewis-Caulton, Mayor Albano, David Starr, Larry McDermott, Wayne Phaneuf, Caputo, Meeropol, Kathy Tobin, Sy Becker, Pat Markey, the Powells, Fred Whitney, Belle-Rita Novak, Congressman Neal, Paul Caron, Brian Lees, Leonard Collamore, John and Mark Koziol, Melinda McIntosh, Darnell Williams and M. Bewsee.

When I left for downtown Coburn and his little boy were shoveling dirt out of daddy's truck. He's getting to be a big boy, next year he goes to school. They haven't decided whether to send the kid to parochial school or move to a town with a better school system. Coburn told me he is a graduate of Catholic schools in Chicopee. At 2:40pm I went over to WNEC where I saw President Caprio walking past the easterly classroom building talking with a student. When I left off the invitations I noticed that the religious brochures were gone from the free literature in the Administration building. Next I stopped by the Devine's because as I was driving past I saw Tom helping his mother plant a weeping cherry tree in front of the house, a tree which ECOS had given Mrs. Devine for her birthday. I told them I thought they were planting the tree too close to the house but they disagreed. I gave Tom his invitation and he gave me the May issue of his zine, which has a picture of Maureen Turner and Tom sitting at a table at The Tavern.

The tree planted "too close to the house" on June 6, 2016.

I arrived downtown at 3:18pm and parked on Salem. I left four invitations with security at the Quadrangle and slid Peter Johnson's invite between the double doors leading to the bookstore building's elevators. Walked around downtown leaving invites for Hurwitz, Atty. Berman, Foley, Lewis-Caulton and Tim Ryan. I left Mayor Albano's invitation with his black aide Candice Lopes, who thanked me politely. Left Peter Picknelly's invite with his security man Frank, a young fellow trying hard to appear businesslike. Left Scott's with the receptionist at TV57 and left three invites at the Union-News. It was then the dead of the afternoon so I had a deli-baloney sandwich at Subway.

As I passed the old Hampden Savings Bank I noticed Kaufman was in his law office so I went in and told him the granite in his building might be Woodbury granite. All the clocks downtown tell slightly different time. Another thing you notice about downtown is all the litter everywhere. Popped into Just Friends and the guy said the Northampton Gay Pride Parade is May 6th (I won't be going) and Springfield's will be June 3rd. The new issue of the Valley Advocate was available downtown, but not when I got back to the Acres. The mail brought no cancer letter, no bylaws from Woronoco Bank and no thank you from Shea. ReMax Quality Real Estate called again, but I was out. Jack Barnaby from California called wondering if I'm interested in franchise investments. Called Jim Contolvich from Emergency Preparedness on Roosevelt Avenue to get his address so I can send him an invitation. Unknown called.

May 4, 2000

Sunny at 6:30am, a beautiful day. 66 degrees at 12:30pm.

Today is the 30 year anniversary of the killings at Kent State. This morning I came across a list Mother made of the people on the street that gave her contributions to the American Cancer Society. Besides herself, Birchland Avenue residents who gave were Cerrone, Potvin, Pasters, Beatty, Allard, Foley, Marshetti, Sierodzinski, May, Grasuinto, Hoves and Penniman. Mother delivered the donations to the 16 Acres branch of Valley Bank on April 25, 1977. CPA Kenneth P. Ryan is a graduate of Burdett College in Boston. Joseph and Shirley Lucia live at 189 Poplar Street in Feeding Hills.

Last night was my first night back in my bedroom. Cleaned and tidied up the breezeway. I also defrosted and thoroughly cleaned the freezer, then I took a bath and washed my plastic suit and hung it up to dry. I went out about 3:15pm and noticed that my lilies are budding up. The Allards drove by and waved. First, I took Mrs. Staniski a bag of stuff for which she gave me some cookies. She was planting maybe 15 Marigolds in front of her house with a pillow to kneel on. She declined my offer of assistance. From there I went to Angelo's and bought the biggest grapefruit I have ever seen, measuring six inches across. Got today's paper out of their trash.

The mail brought the Massachusetts estate tax forms with their new policies. I also got a letter from Aunt Martha thanking me for the Easter card. She said cousin Dianne has divorced her Jewish husband and has resumed using the name Miller. Frankly, I always found it hard to believe that fundamentalist Dianne would ever get along sexually with a Jew. I feel sorrier for him than her, unless of course it was his fault in some other way. Dianne has been divorced twice now, which has got to be a reflection on her. Her first husband, Randy Watkins, was a society yacht sailor.

Dined tonight on a Banquet Turkey Dinner and the fresh artichokes I have on hand. Ernest called from Elect Life in Mesa, Arizona. I told him I am a Methodist and pro-choice and told him we need to control overpopulation and women should be allowed to control their own bodies. He was very polite but insisted abortion is bad for women. Chatted with Eamon, who said he was in Cambridge yesterday with Mark Murphy, looking at watches at Alpha Omega Jewelry. He said the store is on JFK Street. Eamon had to pay $12 to park and never went on the Harvard campus.

Maureen Turner called him today, at one point informing him that she is originally from Long Island. She is doing a story on Police Chief Meara and complained that the Chief never calls her back or only after her deadline. Maureen thinks the Chief is pissed because of the bad things the Valley Advocate has written about her dear friends the Pellegrino's. Karen Powell also called him, saying there is a rumor that money is missing from the riverfront development funds. Eamon told her he hasn't heard anything but "it certainly sounds plausible."

May 6, 2000

Cloudy to start, sunny and 70 degrees at 10am.

The U.S. has the lowest unemployment in 30 years. WFCR says scientists have identified certain proteins in babies which may indicate if they will be artistic or mentally deranged. What's the difference? Falcetti Music has five locations besides the one on Boston Road in Springfield. Anthony Athanas was State Chairman of the Cancer Crusade in 1978. CPA Mark A. O'Connell is a graduate of Western New England College. CPA Arthur Spears is a graduate of Northwestern University. CPA Paul McCloonan graduated from Boston College. John and Mark Koziol live on West Street in Ludlow. Melinda McIntosh lives on Morning Star Road in Hadley.

There is a leak under the left sink which means I'll have to call the plumber. Nuts. I have a rash on my kneecap, what could have caused it? I later decided it was the plastic suit, probably the same way it happened to Jonathan Kline the bedwetter at Camp Norwich. Maria from California called saying she was with Currency Brokers USA. She sounded Jewish. I told her I wasn't interested but didn't read her the riot act. The mail brought a check and certificate from Baystate and a letter from the International Library of Poetry accepting a very dirty sadomasochistic poem by Jack Miller. I also got two checks from Banner and an invitation to Blanche from Baypath, even though Mother is dead.

Wrote a couple of more invitations and mailed them at Louis & Clark. Nolan was there. At 2:15pm I dropped off a thin bag at the Cohn's. Mrs. Cohn told me Mary Kay has been named Visiting Scholar in Residence at Case Western next year. Wasn't much at the Faith Church tag sale. I got four books and pointed out some books about chocolate to Melinda McIntosh. She was first in line as always and told me she sometimes takes vacation days to go to sales. Melinda remarked about my hair and I noticed for the first time that she is left handed. I also bought a child's play keyboard for $2 to add to my collection of kiddie instruments. Unfortunately, this new one is partly plastic.

From there I went to Trinity and left off some material for the Goads. The Huber lady I dropped it off with openly laughed at my appearance. Good. While there I got copies of recent Goad sermons, only his get printed up, never hers. Then to Walgreens to drop off a roll of photos and bought some eggs for 89 cents. Walgreens didn't have my roll developed in an hour so I complained to the manager. Went to Lowe's and bought their termite killing stuff for $20. Went to Stop&Shop and redeemed a $3 coupon on $19 worth of groceries. I also turned in some soda bottles.

Dined today on salad, minestrone soup and milk. Eamon called and said he is using Easy Off Oven Cleaner, put it on overnight and wipe it away in the morning. He told me he is going over his sister's tomorrow at noon. Roy Wright called and said he has been teaching at Marlboro College in Vermont. He never got his Harvard Phd but it doesn't matter at Marlboro which he described as "very radical." He says he has seven years until retirement. He's teaching linguistics and sounds very busy. I invited him to get in touch with me sometime when he's in town and he told me has never met Richard Ringler. Roy said he hardly uses the U.S. Post Office since he started e-mailing. His father is now in a nursing home. He knows Maureen Turner personally through his close friend Advocate reporter Mark Anderson and he agrees that Turner's writing has noticeably improved over the past few years. He talked to Charlie Ryan recently about Northgate and the use of expert witnesses. Roy laughed with glee as I told him of Judge Sweeney's decision.

May 8, 2000

Lovely day, but hot in the afternoon. 76 degrees at 12:21pm.

There's more traffic around here all the time. Now it is not uncommon to have a long line of cars at the Breckwood light going all the way to the entrance to WNEC. There are sometimes long lines along Parker backed up by the Wilbraham Road intersection. Falcetti Music is helping UMass sell some old pianos. Hunter's Typewriter Shop is on Elm Street in West Springfield. Ron Slate is the Director of Marketing Services at Bay State Gas.

Kelly was out on her patio last night. The lilacs are coming out and if it stays this hot they'll go by like a freight train. I did a little cleaning but the main even today was the Senior Fair at the Jewish Community Center. I had considered going to Paul Caron's breakfast, but that would cost money and it was unexciting last year. I also preferred to hear Steve Sobel, whose name appears so frequently in the Reminder.

I left at 8:35am and swung by Eamon's, where I found him spraying something soapy on his front awnings. I looked to see if there was an Open House at DeRiso's but there was not. He gave me a thin bag that included an expose of Hillary Clinton. He said he sent Clinton's opponent $15. Overall Eamon is a generous individual who helps many in small ways. June Ryan told him that the Rev. Geer has been quite ill. He also read in Cries and Whispers that Dr. Negroni is getting an honorary degree from Springfield College. He was surprised when I told him that David Starr was once given an honorary degree from there. Eamon told me about how years back there was a superb, nationally recognized baton twirler who lived in Springfield and it was said he liked to get in a tub and have people piss on him. Excellence has its price!

Then I went over to the JCC, where I arrived by 9:30am. Dr. Sobel spoke in a gymnasium with about a hundred people present. All the people present were white. His lecture was entitled Laugh More, Live Longer. He talked about how laughter is good for you and how we should all laugh more often. He also tried to sell us audio tapes and videos. He was good, but not that good. After his lecture I walked around the JCC. There was no Police Department booth this year, but the Springfield Armory Museum did have a booth. At one point I had my picture taken with a cut out of the Three Stooges. I also went through their Holocaust display which has wonderful color pictures of those who helped the victims. Petlock was there with his "companion" and told me he thinks Friendly's is in trouble because of excessive material and labor costs. Rev. R. Loesch passed me, but turned his head in the other direction so that we wouldn't have to talk. I'll bet he gets Ann Geer's job with the Council of Churches. Wayne Phaneuf was there and said David Starr has made no mention of retiring.

On the way back I stopped by Goodwill and bought four books, one of which was The Grand Resort Hotels of the White Mountains. I also stopped for a chicken sandwich at Burger King in the Acres. Dined this evening on salad and albacore tuna. The mail brought a slip saying they are holding a package for Jack Miller. The Trustees of the Vermont Historical Society wrote and thanked me for the 1995 postcards I gave them of the Bethel United Methodist Church. In the late afternoon I took a nap. This was Six Flags opening weekend and Hurwitz was on TV talking about what a drawing card the theme park will be.

I called the School Department this afternoon and got a recorded message and then was disconnected. So I called back and a woman gave me the number of Dr. Lorraine Plasse. However, when I tried to call I was told it was actually the number of Director of Sciences and that Plasse's number is 787-7134. I told them I would report these confusions and delays to the Superintendent's secretary Rosemary Shea. Finally I got connected to Plasse's secretary and I asked her is she was familiar with The City That Reads, Writes. She replied, "I'm not acquainted with it." I told her to please ask Plasse to call me when she gets a chance.

May 9, 2000

83 degrees at 1pm.

The heat has been record breaking. According to the weatherman, it was 91 degrees on Sunday, 92 on Monday and 93 today. Hopefully the weather will soon be getting back to normal. My tulips have wilted in the heat but the lilacs are fully out and I cut a sprig and put it in Mother's cremation urn. This has been an abbreviated spring, like the lives of the guys who died in Vietnam. Martha Kerson is the Annual Campaign Director for the Masachusetts Easter Seals campaign being run out of West Springfield.

Writing checks and cleaning house. By noon I had done the living room real good and by 1pm the bathroom and hallway were done. I got down on the floor and scrubbed with a mixture of water, Dazzle, Fantastic and a little bar soap mixed in. I let it sit a minute, then went over the floor with a piece of steel wool. Things look as they should again. Late afternoon into early evening I finished up the dining area and the kitchen floor. I did all my work naked.

I called Gordon Paving at 788-4884 and a woman answered. She said he'd left and that there were never any guarantees. She knows her lines well. I said I was never told that and there is always an implied warranty of fitness for use. I said he should come back and look at the driveway and told her I think they put on a very thin layer whereas Eamon said they put several inches on his. She said she'll have him call me, we'll see what happens.

I think my doorbell has stopped working. The street sweeper finally came down Birchland today. They left a pile of sand from winter up toward Wilbraham Road. As I swept up the mess someone drove by and waved hello but I'm not sure who. Went out to put out the mail at Breckwood at 9:45am and found no free paper in the trash. Then over to Angelo's where he told me that what I thought was an immense grapefruit was actually a Central American fruit called a Pannallo. It's a tad sweeter than a grapefruit and pink inside. The Reminder came at 1:30pm.

The 26 rolls of typewriter ribbon I ordered arrived today, I found them leaning atop the newspaper box against the front side of the garage. There was a maroon truck parked in Kelly's driveway this evening. No sign of Michael. Eamon called and said a story in the paper has Mayor Albano wanting Six Flags to build a hotel and an aquarium. Eamon responded by writing a letter to Six Flags CEO Gary Story in Oklahoma as well as local manager Tom Black in Agawam. He told them all the dirt on Springfield and how unreliable Albano is. He also told them about how Albano lied about the businesses coming to the Hall of Fame and included a copy of an article by Maureen Turner critical of the baseball stadium scam.

May 10, 2000

A thunderstorm went over at 6am. Still overcast at 12:28pm.

I dined today on two microwaved potatoes, a can of soup and two hot dogs. An ad in the paper says they will deliver the new phone books Friday, May 12th. Atty. Carol E. Tully CPA is a graduate of Boston College. James P. Kenney CPA is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Put the recycling out before 8am, then decided to treat my typewriter to a new ribbon. Did a load of wash before venturing out. At the Bank of Western Mass I had a pleasant meeting with Carol E. Bolduc, informing me that their interest rate is six percent. I told her how wonderful her staff has been but I'm looking for a better rate. Then over to Lowe's to get caps for the kitchen chair legs. I asked the first employee I met and he said aisle 17, but they didn't have the kind I wanted. I spoke to Customer Service who got me the Assistant Manager, a young fellow who said all they had was a kind I didn't like in a package of four for $1.68. I said no thanks and left and as I did so I noticed that a new place is opening in the parcel by Circuit City called Tuesday something.

I headed down to the Main Post Office to pick up a package from Western New England College that the mailman failed to deliver, perhaps to punish me for reporting him. I arrived at the Friendly's annual stockholder's meeting about 9:45am. The Friendly's staffers were obsequious and directed me to the free food where I had a sesame bagel with lots of spiced cream cheese on it. They had greeters at all the doors and I told mine that I only buy stock in Friendly's in order to get a free breakfast once a year. I also informed her that on their event program the word "guidelines" should have been capitalized. They also offered danish, juice and coffee. I wore my Friendly's t-shirt with my collar and biker jacket and got plenty of attention.

There were about 100 chairs set up and I sat on the left hand side in the first row. Petlock was not there this year. TV reporter and broker Jim Vinnick got up and asked a question about how they intend to improve their image on Wall Street. Their answer that they are going to focus on "operating results" for the next two quarters didn't adequately answer the question. Why not all the quarters? The most memorable speaker was an elderly woman, short and slightly plump named Alice Riddick. She said as a girl she worked for Friendly's and complained that the company is nothing like it used to be. She said the restrooms are filthy (Eamon has also said the same thing) and there are inconsistencies between restaurants in portion sizes. At one point she turned to address founder S. Priestly Blake, who seems to have developed a nervous tick in his face. This went on for ten minutes and when she sat down I raised my hand to make a point of order. I asked the Corporate Counsel to provide his definition of the phrase "two minutes" and tell how such is measured. Smith apologized and said they let her speak longer because of her "passionate interest." I made no other comments. Lyman Woods complained about the waste of Friendly's corporate jet and they said they are cutting back its use. I never see Wood wearing a tie.

Coming home by Dwight I see they are planting new trees along the east side. The mail arrived at 1:10pm. When I arrived home I went over to Kelly's and found her reading the paper in a white bathrobe. I congratulated her on getting married a few months ago. My phone ID showed a Neil B. Epstein was calling so I picked up and it was Dr. Matthews, Epstein's partner, looking for his patient Ann. I informed him that I am not she. Unknown called three times but there was never a voice when I picked up.

May 11, 2000

Overcast and dripping.

Saw a bumpersticker in the parking lot that said Irish Power with the flag. Yes, but Irish Power can be used, like any power, for good or evil. A jackass is a jackass, whether it is its tail or its nose that is long. The BBC is Britain's most important export to the United States. On WFCR the Teacher of the Year from California was asked the one book students should read and she replied Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon. The new black newscaster on TV22 mispronounced Kateri Walsh's name tonight.

There were no Valley Advocates at the Newsstand at noon. The burned out hardware store remains an eyesore. Went to Walmart and they had chair leg caps for four for a dollar, cheaper than yesterday at Lowe's. Got fish and chips at Skeeter's on Boston Road for $4.95, served in a paper boat with one container of tartar sauce, two containers of ketchup, and a small slice of lemon. Good fish with okay fries, a little better than Big Y with no tax added to the $4.95.

Today I called the Eastfield Mall and got the receptionist Sabrina and told her I used the Chamber of Commerce coupon they gave me for Salsa's Mexican and thought it was flat and not worth buying even with a discount coupon. I also told her I saw the same product advertised at a cheaper price in The Reminder. She seemed very understanding saying, "Attorney Miller, I really do appreciate this call. Thank you for telling me."

The mailman was here at 1:14 and quickly pulled away as I opened the garage door. There was no box of books and just two pieces of mail. The morning paper has Bank of Western Mass offering a 19 month CD at 6.5% so I called them and asked for their investment councilor, who is Eamon's niece Barbara Lucia, but all I could get was her answering machine. Tried twice. I also called the Polish National Credit Union and Maggie says for 72-96 months they offer 6.5%. Finally, I called George Gouzanis at A.G. Edwards and they can get me 7% for one year.

Chatted with Eamon and he was interested in my interest rate survey and said he has a lot of money maturing at United Cooperative. He described Barbara Lucia as a shrewd investor of her own money. Eamon also told me that Williams Distributing, the liquor company, is moving to Chicopee. Hugo Roth used to run it and Eamon described him as "a nice man." He also talked about how from 1960-62 Eamon ran the Springfield contingent of the Holyoke St. Patrick's Parade. Roth had a collection of Model T Fords and Eamon rode in the parade in one of them. Eamon has had a hand in just about everything. He is especially proud of what he did for the Andover Institute of Business. Under Eamon, enrollment increased from 300 to over 800. He also got all the code violations fixed in the Insurance Tower building.

May 12, 2000

Lovely day.

The power went off at 6:57am so I called WMECO and Bennette said they had a lot of calls from Birchland, Ashland and Talbot. Power back on at 7:57am. When I opened the garage door this morning, the mailman was speeding away after having left a note that there is a package for me to pick up. I got a letter from Russell F. Denver, President of the greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, declining my invitation, stating that "with three young boys being very active in track, baseball, soccer and hockey" his weekends are all tied up. Obviously the mailman is engaging in payback for me having ratted to the postal inspectors, by making me drive downtown for packages that should have been delivered to my home. I'll give him lots of rope and then spring the trap door.

Steve never sent me a thank you note for the balsa wood model I sent him. I discovered that the case of sherry I bought was missing a bottle, so I drove out to Stop&Shop Liquors. They were very accommodating. Bill said cases of liquor are frequently missing a bottle or have a broken one and he gave me a refund on the spot. Bill also said that he had been talking to McCarthy of Northgate Plaza who told him, "Attorney Miller helped us a lot." I was flattered because while Karen Powell introduced me once to McCarthy I didn't realize he was aware of all I had done. Went to Big Y and spent my refund money on the specials. Saw Professor Anzolotti there and wished him Happy Mother's Day.

Next I went to the tag sale at the Christian School held to raise money for the Rescue Mission. Loads of stuff, I got two good books, a few metal objects, two milk crates including a bright blue one that says "Thou Shalt Not Steal" on it, two Springbok puzzles and a working Smith-Corona portable in a very beat up case. It was built in the 50's with green keys in the middle and olive keys at the edges. Then drove over to Eastfield Mall and bought a double cheeseburger at McDonald's. While at Eastfield I looked into Vibrations for a fugitive t-shirt but the lady said it sold out immediately. Instead, I bought an orange t-shirt reading "Corrections Facility" on the back and "Solitary Confinement" on the front with a number. Just the thing.

Eamon called and said Dennis Murphy, the state rep that quit suddenly to be the PR man for the electric utility thing in Agawam, is head of the Pancake Breakfast. Both Eamon and I heard him saying on TV that "Kalamazoo" Michigan surrendered to us and we are number one in pancake breakfasts. Actually, it is Battle Creek, not Kalamazoo. He said they served 71,230 plates of pancakes last year. Mary Kay Wydra was also on saying that "it's an exciting time" and "Six Flags is changing the face of tourism in the region." She said they expect Six Flags to draw over two million visitors this year. Eamon also read to me from General MacArthur's farewell, the part where "duty, honor, country" is stressed and the necessity of "not lying, stealing, cheating or tolerating those who do." Eamon then contrasted that with the behavior of the Albano Administration.

May 13, 2000

Pancake Breakfast Day

Temperature in the morning was 59 degrees. Raining when I got up, but the rain had stopped by the time I left at 8. I noticed the sun reflecting off the hoods of the car as I passed through Mason Square, which was enough of an improvement to get the people out for the breakfast. I went to the main post office first to get the Hamilton book shipment. I suspect my mail carrier is making me go to the post office for my packages as "payback" for having informed the postal inspectors that I had received seven pieces of wrongly delivered mail from that carrier.

From the post office I drove to Boylston, a street I didn't know existed that runs along the back of the newspaper plant and has "two hour" parking signs all along it where I parked. The newspaper itself had some tables set up on Main trying to sign people up for jobs, so I left my vita with Carol, using as my references David Starr, Larry McDermott and Eamon O'Sullivan. I then walked into the city, pausing at the bus station to relieve myself and when I came out of the stall to wash my hands there was a black guy in a biker jacket with a red flag hanging out of his right hip pocket. I was in my jeans and black t-shirt and jacket with my usual baby blue and black flags hanging out of my right hip. I said hi and moved on.

There were not that many people at the breakfast when I got there at 9:30am, but the multiracial crowd soon picked up. I saw Sally Fuller and Fred Whitney talking to Marshall Moriarty, but there was no eye contact and I said nothing to them. Mayor Albano was supposed to be there but he was late. Peter Picknelly was in the crowd in front of the Civic Center, where I also saw Henry Thomas talking to Judy Matt who was holding municipal medals in lucite cubes. I didn't see Congressman Neal. Two people congratulated me on my speech to the City Council, Barbara Garde and the black man who runs a camera for Media One. There weren't many informational tables or street literature.

I left downtown about 10:30am and stopped at the Goodwill in the X. On Kimberly there was a lot of car glass in the street as if a car had been busted into. Arrived at the Eastfield Mall at 11:33 and got my free flashlight at Mall Services. I told the lady at the AAA booth that I'm a member but I can't seem to get their newsletter. Dined on a Subway deli-baloney and left Eastfield at 12:15pm. Ruby Tuesday is the name of the place going up on the out parcel on the corner of Parker and Boston Road. It looks like a Pizzeria Uno. I stopped at the Evangelical Covenant tag sale and got a wonderful box of books for $3. I got two books for Mrs. Staniski on religious thoughts and picked up a Webster's Seventh Collegian for Eamon.

The United Methodist Church voted decisively yesterday to retain policies prohibiting homosexuals from ordination. Eamon called and said he feels that the most important intellectual dimension is imagination. He also wondered why the Basketball Hall of Fame can't get Tip-Off Classic players. Eamon told me he closed his $5,000 bank account with Hampden Savings because he found them arrogant. Rock 102 hasn't asked Eamon about appearing again on the Bax and O'Brien Show. We discussed how the cartoons on the Union-News editorial page are being printed larger these days than formerly. I guess the more cartoons the less Letters to the Editor you have to print.

March 15, 2000

An absolutely beautiful day, mild 56 degrees this morning.

The Fed has raised the interest rate by a quarter point five times in the last year in what they are calling an "incremental approach." When it comes to dead artists, the higher the price the more people clamor to pay. Research can kill topics. As long as research continues there is interest, but once the exploration is completed, one's interest moves on to something else and old topics are forgotten. Christopher W. Bromley is President and CEO of Springfield Institution for Savings. Runa A. Skar is Director of Marketing for Providence Place at Ingleside. Providence Place at Ingleside is sponsored by the Sisters of Providence and managed by the Sisters of Providence Health System.

Is this termite emerge day? Bridal wreath is coming out and the white flowering tree at Colleen's is in full bloom. I have just finished my second tube of Enamelon toothpaste. While I cleaned my room, there was a very brief power interruption that stopped the digital clock. Went out at 1:15pm to get a couple of books at Goodwill. I got the incredibly rare Springfield imprint Gerald Chapman's Philosophy of Life (1926). It is edited by Ray W. Willey and autographed by him in 1930. The book is about a gangster executed for murder in Connecticut. While there a little girl selling pins said, "I like your very special hair style," referring to my Apache. I thanked her. Patty was having a snack with an elderly lady. We chatted, and when Patty mentioned golf I said that unlike her stockbroker husband, I'm not into golf. She replied that she's divorced now and I said I'm sorry to hear that because she's such a beautiful person. The old lady spoke up and said she's divorced too, from a Peruvian doctor.

There were no papers in the trash at Louis & Clark. I made copies at Pride in the Acres and then had two double cheeseburgers for the price of one at Burger King. I was customer number 85, which probably indicated how many customers they had so far today. I swung by Angelo's but he had nothing I want to buy right now. I left a bag of books and magazines on Mrs. Staniski's back entranceway. Arrived at AIC library and took out a few books. I wonder if the staff knows that William Menzies Whitelaw of their History department wrote his articles on Africa there at a penny a word back in the 50's. The Wilbraham Road side of the unused porch has a rotting floor and looks bad. Then over to Springfield College and the President's secretary gave me a copy of their graduation program. I then walked around campus gathering posters.

Carol from the Bank of Western Mass called saying they forgot to deduct $50 I got in interest so I said no problem, just deduct it from the other account with them I still have. She thanked me for my cooperation. Mrs. Staniski called to thank me for the stuff I left for her. She doesn't know when she can come over because "Ann is pretty busy." I suspect Ann is turned off by my openly gay personna. Dined on corn on the cob and a Swanson Yankee Pot Roast Dinner. I also cooked up some brussel sprouts. Spent some of the day reading Dirty Little Secrets of the Vietnam War which is full of good information. I also took some photos of the living room late in the afternoon.

Eamon called and complained that his garage has become messy with "stuff" and he likes to keep it neat as a pin. He also told me he has his triangular lilac banner up in front of his house. We talked briefly about the feature story about Hurwitz in the Sunday paper, then I read the citation I found given to Dr. Negroni and told him I am mailing it to him and T. Vannah but not to Devine. I'm avoiding all my invited guests until June. Eamon has bought an Irish Development Bond which pays 18%. According to Eamon, the best place to buy gas is the Cumberland Farms across from the Methodist Church at the triangle in Hungry Hill, where gas is only $1.39 per gallon. Lately the price of gas has been all over the place, $1.46 at Citgo and the Daily Mart (took over Dairy Mart) at Watershops Pond. Sunoco at Breckwood is $1.51 and at Shell is $1.53. He also talked about inductive and deductive reasoning. I told him that most people don't use reason, they just ask what's good for Number One.

March 16, 2000

Sunny, lovely day although cool in the morning.

The Fed has bumped up interest rates by a half a percent but most are saying it will make no difference. Shadows Fall is a popular band out of Holyoke. Bridgeport National Bindery is located on Silver Street in Agawam. Their motto is Bound to Last.

Father left a note in his Indian Orchard bank papers asking that no reproductions of his beloved doll Floppy be made and I shall honor it. Kapok was the stuffing used in the original Floppy dolls. I forgot to mention that the last time I was downtown, I peeked in the window of Johnson's Bookstore. It is still stripped to the walls and the floor is shiny clean. It has been empty several years now. One of the best things about Johnson's was the way it was selective about the used books they bought, unlike Goodwill where the shelves are bulging with junk no one will ever buy. The Johnsons sometimes went to auctions in order to obtain older and rarer books.

Went out at 9:30am to mow the lawn and had just enough gas in the mower to complete it. I paused to watch a white tow truck back into Dicky Nichols driveway and hauled away the car with the Connecticut plates on it. He glared at me, doubtless cursing the fate that of all days I would be on hand to see it going on after being out of his sight for weeks. I did the treebelt first in order to get the most public view of the place cleaned up first. Soon a late model car pulled up by my mailbox. Two women got out holding copies of The Watchtower, one a comely young white woman and the other an older black woman. I greeted them cheerfully, but told them I am a Methodist who respects all beliefs including atheism. They expressed surprise at that. I said I wished them well but have no time to talk and we shook hands and they departed. Finished the lawn at 11:30am.

By noontime Kelly had her back yard umbrella up. The mailman came down the street at 12:15pm and brought me a copy of the Woronoco by-laws. I watched the noon news, then went right out to mail stuff to Eamon and Tom Vannah and a letter giving permission to the poetry company to print my poem if they want but I will not be buying a copy of the book. Then over to Angelo's where I got a lot of good stuff. When I got back I called Aunt Maria's number and a woman faintly answered, so fearing it was my Aunt I hung up. Where was Shirley Whittier Huang? I decided to drive over to Aunt Maria's and check things out. Upon approaching my Aunt's house I saw an old man walking along the street who may have been Joe Lucia. Aunt Maria's car was nowhere in sight. Her tulips have gone by, sumac is growing all around the old shop, the lawn was mowed and the front door closed. This was at 2:52pm. From there I went to the nearby Stop&Shop for a rotisserie chicken and the specials. Then I circled back to Aunt Maria's but there was no change. I turned around in DePalma Street both times. Back home at 3:55pm and there was a bag from Mrs. Staniski hanging on the fence.

After the news, I did a load of wash and took a bath. For supper I dined on my chicken and a day old bagel from Stop&Shop. Eamon called and I told him about my rare book find, but Eamon said he had never heard of Gerald Chapman. He said Maureen Turner told him she's tracking down rumors that $25 million in seed money for the Basketball Hall of Fame is missing. When Eamon hung up I called Nader the Hatter's sister Kathy LaRose. She said she has only heard from the Hatter once since he left. She works at Sci-Tech High and told me that there are 300 kids absent there daily with lots of others showing up late. She claims the security guards don't do anything but talk to the kids in the hallway when they should be ordering them to class. She told me that if you speak up about the problems in the school "they'll fire you and put you on a list and you'll never work for the city again." She also told me they recently put up a sheet to sign-up for a farewell party for Dr. Negroni, but nobody signed up so "they'll probably make attendance mandatory." I told her about Negroni's citation from Springfield College and she laughed out loud in derision.

May 18, 2000

57 degrees at 6:55am.

Helen Thomas the reporter has retired at 79. Today I got a letter from Bolduc at Bank of Western Mass. It completely lacks the friendly politeness of our chat over the phone. Atty. Gerard F. Boudreau is a graduate of Boston College. Jean M. Joy is a member of the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. Westbank is headquartered on Park Avenue in West Springfield. R.C. Ballou was the Local Manager for Massachusetts Electric Company in 1966. Thomas Lee had a tree trimming firm on Bridge Road in Florence Mass in 1977.

A coach at Indiana U. is in a lot of trouble for profanity and throwing things, but he is their all time winningist coach so they didn't fire him saying, "He deserves one last chance." Seems he gets more chances than I got at Hampden. The Co-efficiency of Tragedy - Thinking about Vietnam, one life is said to be worth no more than another. But the fact is the loss of a 17 year old high school dropout's life is certainly greater than the loss of an Ethiopian infant who dies of starvation and less than that of an Olympian gold medalist who got drafted.

Bridal wreath in full bloom, first big pink daisy opening up. At noontime Kelly was mowing her lawn. I put in at least eight hours going through several drawers of papers looking for things, but didn't find the objects of my quest. Mother hid things. I did find an old bill from Massachusetts Electric Company from June of 1976 in the back of a drawer. Also came across an angry letter to the electric company from Father over tree cutting on our Wilbraham property saying, "I feel that the cutting was done far beyond what was necessary." Recently the electric company was cutting branches here on Birchland Avenue. Some pictures I took of electrical workers in Wilbraham trimming without permission along King Drive in 1978 are valuable now because they show the original width of the King Drive right of way.

A fly drowned in my cup of orange juice. Walked down and spoke to Mr. Cohn as he sat in his garden. He said he had a cataract and lens implant operation two weeks ago and now everything is fine. I waved to Mrs. Berselli, got to remember to interview her someday on the early days of Birchland Avenue. The phone books were delivered today with a stupid gambling refrigerator magnet on them which I dumped in the trash. The Boston Herald had the MCAS scores in them today.

Dined on Campbell's Siesta Soup and salad. Caller from Reminisce Magazine insisted on speaking to Mrs. Miller until I had to say she's deceased. I also got a call from an ebullient woman wanting me to subscribe to Boston Magazine, but I declined even though it was only $1.16 per month for 24 months. Phone ID showed someone from Florida calling but I didn't answer because it wasn't from Nader the Hatter's area code. Unknown called and I shouted, "It's time for the 5:00 news and you shouldn't be calling!" Then I slammed down the phone. Unknown called again at 6pm on the button but I hung up instantly without saying anything.

On the TV22 news Dan Elias said, "Sci-Tech used to be the headquarters of Mass Mutual, one of the area's largest employers." No mention of Monarch, whose headquarters was there for many years. Mass Mutual used the building only briefly until their current one was built. TV57 had a piece on the National Guard which said people are trained as specialists and you can expect to see active duty overseas if your specialties are needed. One soldier described his work in Kosovo, "It's exciting, to me this has been a blast!" Military service is fun.

May 20, 2000

Overcast and 52 degrees first thing this morning.

Cut my nails last night. Today is Armed Forces Day. James Pierre Rampal the classical flutist has died at 78. Radio personality Dr. Laura is losing sponsors because of her anti-homosexual views. Kimberly Campbell of Westside Bank used to work for Shawmut for nine years. Hampden Savings Bank has an office on Allen Street in Springfield. James M. Buker was head of Baystate Medical Center's Senior Class Club in 1992.

Finished Dirty Little Secrets about the Vietnam War. There were tag sales sprouting like mushrooms all over the place today, although I forgot to go to the sale in Wilbraham. I left shortly after 8am and got papers at Louis & Clark. CopyCat was printing Math and Science Summer Activity booklets and gave me samples. Then I went to the clearance book sale at St. Mary's in Ludlow. It is a newish Catholic Church made of brick with nice stained glass windows and a small steeple. In the very back of their basement they have a "Book Nook" and the lady said they were tired of tending to it and so were selling all the contents. I grabbed Britannica's Annals of America (1976) and a book on the Museum of Architecture in Washington. I also got a little Gaelic grammar that was published in Glasgow in 1896 for $11. I left elated.

I stopped at Stop&Shop but they were all out of bargain toilet paper. I saw the large AAA lady and made a point of saying hi. She said she's enjoying the big lottery jackpot she won saying, "Money is freedom." I replied, "That's a bit of wisdom to be underlined." On Birchland I saw Mrs. Penniman fooling with her front lawn so I stopped to say hi. Mr. Penniman was looking out the picture window, so I waved to him and he waved back. "He's waving, that's great!" said Mrs. Penniman smiling broadly. The mail came at noon and I got my refund from the City of Springfield.

Tonight I dined on franks and beans with a tossed salad. On the news Dr. Negroni has been given a $3,800 merit raise, bringing his pay as Superintendent to $166,000. Chatted with Eamon, who thinks the attendance at the Basketball Hall of Fame is about half of the 75,000 they claim. Of course they also probably pad the numbers by counting people who come for the Chamber of Commerce parties and that sort of thing. There was a tag sale at 235 Birchland yesterday where I bought a pair of 25lb barbells for a dollar each. TV22 had a feature on the Michaelson Gallery in Northampton. They also featured Sharon Harris, who paints murals. Northampton has won first place as best small arts city in America. That's pretty tough competition for Springfield.

I called New England Fidelity and chatted with Jane Parker, who told me they've been in business three years and Bob Florian is their President and Chairman of the Board. She connected me to Brian Coombes who was friendly. He said they are a private company with $30 million in premiums who only do business in Massachusetts. He said he will send me two brochures and a letter. So why didn't Hampden Savings refer me to this company? Then I called Aunt Maria and got a high pitched Southern woman who was Bonnie from Ohio expecting Ruth to call. She said Shirley Huang is "down in Randolph visiting relatives." Aunt Maria was "having her bath." It was a very cordial chat once it got going.

A John Bennett called looking for Storrowtown. Then Dr. Matthews' office called looking for "Mrs. Pollock of Storrowtown Tavern." I said, "You have not dialed the proper number." The line went dead with no apology. I looked under "Dentists" in the phone book and found Pediatric Dentistry with Neil B. Epstein and Robert L. Matthews at 1795 Main Street. I called and spoke to Darlene, telling her that I found their hanging up on me without an apology discourteous and unprofessional then added, "If I hear anymore from you people I'll consider it harassment." She replied, "I'll pass the message along."

May 22, 2000

Drizzle and clouds all day, 54 degrees at 7am.

This day the Arkansas Committee on Professional Conduct recommended the disbarment of President Clinton and he has been fined $90,000 for lying about Paula Jones. The matter had been referred to them by Judge Susan Webber Wright. Smoking is down 8% in the USA and 2% worldwide. John F. Gately, Professor of English at STCC, has been elected into the American Antiquarian Society, the only community college professor to be nominated. He has been a member of the STCC faculty since 1970. WFCR had more about basketball coach Bob Knight of Indiana with someone saying "it would not be fair to not give him a second chance." But Hampden Savings and Riverside Park dumped me without a second chance. The axe is yet to fall. WFCR is also having a seminar starting Friday on Dorothy Canfield Fisher. Thurston Twigg-Smith was Treasurer of the Town of Bernard, Vermont in 1992.

115 Birchland for the last couple of weeks has had a large pile of broken up brownstone dumped in the middle of his front yard. A woman from Cellphone Professionals called looking for Jean at Storrowtown. Kim from Marriot Hotels called offering me a room in Boston for $99. I told her to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy, read her the riot act and told them don't call again! I went to Trinity Church and it was Children's Day. Mrs. Goad made quite a production out of it. All the youth were lined up down the center aisle, I counted 46. A little boy and two older ones delivered excellent sermonettes. Mrs. Goad went around saying hi to people and made a point of greeting me as John Wesley. The flower guy has a fancy new white truck and after church I got a wonderful flat of zinnias and marigolds. Then to McDonald's for hotcakes and sausage.

From there I went to the Open House at 1350 Wilbraham Road. When I was a small child we drove out to Wilbraham every weekend to work on our property and this house I think was the very first house on Wilbraham Road to be constructed after the war. Built in 1945 and selling for $89,000, it has been redone a couple of times and is a really small, cute place. Considering its size, the kitchen is unusually large. The stairs to the attic are extremely steep as you see sometimes in Vermont houses. The stairs to the basement are not so steep, but are so narrow that you can't take much down there. There is an old fashioned wooden hatchway. I am happy to have gotten into 1350 because it is a special house, not just because it was the first post-war house, but because it was not designed according to cookie cutter specifications but just as the original owner wanted it to be built. A special feature pointed out by the brokerlady Priscilla Harmon is that out back is all yet untamed forest. I think there used to be a camp back in there, I never paid much attention to it.

Dined on tossed salad and creamed beef on two small potatoes. Eating salad is an objective at every meal, but having meat should not be. I found Mother's 25 year DAR certificate when I cleaned out the drawer the other day. Today I spent some time reading Heckler on the warrior spirit. After I finish Grossman on killing and the Tuttle book on pressure point fighting, I shall have read about twenty significant books on military science. Already the information is overlapping in my brain and I'm getting ideas for a lot of things. Three Sundays and no lecture guests. No muss, no fuss, no bother and I get credit for inviting.

Eamon called and told me that Morgan Stanley-Dean Whittier has a wonderful offer on CD's. Eamon says that he was told by his gym teacher that although he was a small guy he did the best push-ups he had ever seen. Eamon spent a lot of his time at the Boy's Club when he was 8-9 years old. Eamon then wondered why I think I'm gay. I told him I consider homosexuality an option in the realm of human sexuality and a permissible and sensible option. I see nothing strange about it. Overall, my parents were too protective of me as a child and although I have some manly skills (fixing things and cutting down trees) I was not fully brought up as a boy. Mother always worried about my safety, wear rubbers, drove me to school for several years, wouldn't let me spend time on the farm with Cousin Clifford. Eamon asked if I was ever in a fistfight and I told him no except for that time at Buckingham I already told him about.

May 23, 2000

Overcast and damp, 55 degrees in the morning.

Massachusetts has the highest income tax rate in the USA. AcuCut is located in Southington, Connecticut. Roy L. Scott lives on Woodsley Road in Wilbraham.

Today I went to Eastec 2000. Drove out at 9am and went to the Breckwood Shops. Put out some mail at Louis & Clark, where in the trashcan outside I found some material from a newspaper carrier route including a list of customers. Then I drove into the city by Alden and saw that Mr. Whitney removed all the paint from the shingles of his house. They were brown, now they are wood colored. YMCA Springfield School Program signs were up all over Springfield College.

I swung by the Basketball Hall of Fame and there were 37 cars in the lot. What were all those people doing in the Hall at 9 in the morning when the doors aren't open for guests yet? A lady let me in the door and I was permitted to carry my envelope for Don Gibson upstairs and gave it to the lady at the desk who was Ann Sandstrom, the Office Manager. She told me she had heard of Mrs. Vickers but doesn't know her. I asked what all the cars in the lot were for and she said they're employee cars. We then agreed how beautiful the little garden is out back and I left.

I drove along the expressway to come back on Main and clearly observed absolutely zero posters on the kiosk in front of the Visitor Information Center. The Tilly's/Subway side of Main Street is dug up again. There were quite a lot of cars on the Memorial Bridge and at the entrance to Eastec as they were making us park in the remotest field. I drove instead way down to Storrowtown and found a few empty spots and parked. Inside I saw there was scaffolding up all around the Connecticut Building with a banner saying the restoration work was being done by some company in Middleton. I saw coming across the green a line of elementary school children being escorted by docents in Colonial costumes. I then spotted a golf cart in front of the Administration Building and in it was Wayne McCary himself and I told him what a wonderful job he does each year with the Big E.

In front of the Colosseum I met a man in a suit who offered to show me the entrance. Formerly the entrance was by the Industrial Arts Building, but this year there were two entrances, one at the Springfield end of Industrial Arts and the other one way over by the parking lot next to the new building. It is my opinion that they reconfigured the parking and entrance to effect a more even distribution of attendees throughout the five or so buildings and the big, white tent they put up every year. I asked the man how many people came to Eastec last year and he said about 20,000. I said gee, I would have thought more than that. He replied, "We were hoping it would be."

So I started in the tent and then did the Industrial Arts (now called Better Living) and then I took my bag of freebies to the car, emptied it and did the other three buildings. There were more freebies than in the past, but I took only the most interesting ones. At the Texaco booth were about five men and I sang out to them, "You're the men from Texaco, you work from Maine to Mexico, there's nothing like that Texaco of yours!" They laughed and the guy in front pulled out a Texaco sticker and affixed it to my name tag as a potent reminder of the power of poetry. I thanked him and moved on. That song was from the start of the Milton Berle Show in the 50's. The ranks of those who remember that jingle are doubtless thinning.

Food as always was expensive, a knockwurst on a bun with sauerkraut, fries and a soda was $7. Hot dogs were $2. The Springfield Visitor's Bureau had a booth this time as did several Connecticut communities and New Hampshire. All were economic development booths. The only display that Springfield had was some papers on a table like they use for church suppers. It was overseen by an executive suited woman named Doreen Turgeon, whom I told I would be sending a memo to Hurwitz about how inadequate Springfield's display was. I got a great freebie from Toyoda of a cube within a cube ash tray that was such a gem I told the man at the booth, Robert Isotalo, that they should charge money for it.

I left at 2pm and swung by Eamon's to drop off the freebies I picked up at Eastec for him. He told me he just got off the phone with Spellacy, who told Eamon he was delighted with Maureen Turner's article on Chief Meara. Spellacy also told Eamon that City Solicitor Peter Fenton called him wanting to know whether Spellacy would like Mayor Albano to come to his retirement party. He told him no. Spellacy's brother John Spellacy of the State Police told him he did the right thing in rejecting Albano. Eamon claims Spellacy's retirement party at Storrowtown is expected to draw 400. Obviously Officer Speallacy has a lot of friends.

May 24, 2000

Overcast, wet, 58 degrees in the morning.

The China trade bill has passed the House, that is very good. However, on TV a labor leader named Bob Dickson claimed the agreement will cost jobs. Three movies I like are The Age of Innocence, The Jerk and Terminator 2: Judgement Day. WFCR was playing some Rampal music including Vivaldi's Flute Concerto. Ginger Marszalek is a Licensed Agent for Hampden Insurance Agency. Henry K. Adams is a Trustee of the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Stuck a bag's worth of sunflower seeds into the ground after having soaked them last night. Dined on fruit and Rice Crispies and chicken pot pie today. Stayed home most of the day sorting things out. First thing spoke with Wanda at Maccabees and she said they got my form. Then I called Elms and Michael got me Sr. Mary Gallagher who said they don't have The Cabinet of Irish Literature in Father Barry's (founder of St. Mary's) collection. She said it doesn't appear in their online catalog either. Spoke briefly to Kelly, she told me she mistakenly received a magazine meant for Mrs. Judy Gates of Blanan Drive in Chicopee. Someone called for Lawrence and when I said I wasn't he they slammed down the phone. Maybe I'll start saying I'm whomever they want.

Just before the mail arrived a blue van with a driver and a young girl in it delivered The Reminder. I yelled thank you. Got a card in the mail today from Nader the Hatter in Florida:

Hey Wesley,
Have you morphed into a techno-maniac yet? I really believe in its potential to give the small guy a voice that will be heard.
It's beginning to feel a lot like home down here.
Usually the day begins with an ocean sunrise swim. After that, who cares?
I hope that you and The Commissioner continue to beat the drums for a Springfield renaissance.
The Hatter

Eamon called and said he was on the phone this morning with Longmeadow Selectperson Arlene Miller. She told him the Longmeadow Subway got shut down because they hadn't gotten their paperwork approved by the town. Eamon said they also talked about Joe Flahive, who used to call himself a doctor when he worked for the State Board of Education. He is now working for Longmeadow. Flahive seems to have a close connection to Tessier Associates, who seem to get a lot of contracts on low bids in matters in which Flahive is involved and when Adjustment Orders for more money start coming in.

For instance, when the Putnam renovation was bid out at $12.5 million and ended up costing $25 million, the state auditors came in but couldn't find the source documents verifying the expenses. The source documents were also missing when they did New North Genera. A lot of machinery for the Putnam Auto Body Department couldn't be found and some spray booths were also missing. According to Selectperson Miller, in Longmeadow the Blueberry Hill and Wolf Swamp school projects were bid at $18 million and are already up to $22.5 million. John Rossini is the architect. Eamon told the Selectperson that such situations characteristically come up whenever Tessier gets a low bid on contracts where Flahive is involved. He told her to examine all contracts where Tessier and Flahive were involved. Eamon recalled that Flahive was "called on the carpet" for his influence with the School Building Assistance Bureau by Commissioner Rainolds when Flahive was on the State Board.

May 25, 2000

59 degrees in the morning. Extremely dark at 9:12am, pouring four minutes later.

Eaten bread is soon forgotten. - Eamon's Mother

Beverly Sills is 79 today. The Los Alamos fire will be "completely snuffed out" by Sunday. Thomas J Vocatura is a licensed CPA in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Atty. Stephen R. King got his law degree from Suffolk University Law School. Marion Rice Kirkwood was a donor to the Stanford University Book Fund, as was Henry Vrooman. Rich Gula is a pitcher for Pathfinder Regional High School in Palmer.

At Johnson's years ago I came upon a lot of books discarded by some Jewish libraries and synagogues. They were good books and I bought a few and ended up with a nice collection of Jewish bookplates. In one book I found four plates stuck on top of the original bookplate, each dedicated to a different person. I wonder if this is a scam practiced by librarians, where they put the plates for book purchases on top of their old books and then pocket the money the donor intended to go for new books. Librarians think they're pretty damn smart, but, well, they just aren't. With all the games librarians play, who in their right mind would be foolish enough to give them their books or money? Show me a librarian who has donated their own collection or taken a voluntary pay cut to buy books and then you may have found an honest librarian.

I drove out at 1:17pm but forgot to get the new Valley Advocate. I dined on a Colossal Burger for $6.59 plus a dollar tip at the Friendly's next to the Wilbraham plant. It was just as big as the picture on the menu implied with two thick slices of onion. There is a mural on the wall depicting a circus with a carousel and balloons with Friendly's on them and a ticket booth with Friendly's over the window. Copyrighted, but no date. I wonder if it's unique or do they have it in other stores? When I came home from Friendly's, I saw the mailman coming down Venture Drive having done Jeffery and the roads over by Venture Pond.

Shannon Tucker called from the Native American Heritage Association in Rapid City. I told her I had a Wilson cousin who was a physician on the Rosebud Reservation and said I would send them $25 if they sent me some information. Then I called Gillette, maker of White Rain Shampoo, and their receptionist Jennifer got me Karen their Product Specialist. I told her how I was settling Mother's estate and that I found a container of White Rain which had completely deteriorated. I told her that "we are not pigs" and that the deterioration had nothing to do with anything done by myself or Mother. I described the label as having a raspberry rain drop with White Rain lettering in white and a blue umbrella inside a gold border. She said it's "a very old container" and she asked me to send her the container for examination. She mentioned nothing about freebies.

On TV57 they had a story about the enormous fundraiser the Democrats had last night. Scott Harshbarger was on for Common Cause, talking about how he is working to change the campaign finance laws. Harshbarger's unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign nicely illustrated how the best man doesn't win. A letter came from Rep. Paul Caron thanking me for inviting him "to join you at your home to discuss, art, street literature and books," then adding, "I am certain the discussion will be intellectual and provocative, as well as a successful offering to celebrate Spring." However, he declined to come.

Eamon called wondering what affect digging up Main Street again will have on Tilly's business. But the call came to an abrupt halt because two black cops with a German Shepard were in his driveway. Eamon said he needed to run out and rescue his little dog. Eamon called back later and said the cops told him that a man and a woman had arrived at Cal's Variety in a taxi. They went in and tried to hold the place up, but Cal pulled out a pistol and they fled. The cops said they were combing the neighborhood for clues to the pair's whereabouts.

May 26, 2000

Sunny, beautiful, 59 degrees in the morning.

Today all the newspaper cartoons are supposed to do something to honor Charlie Brown, but Doonsbury did not. Shame on Trudeau. I like Funky Winkerbean. Pumpkin seed are supposed to be good for the prostate. Celia J. Moffie is Owner/Executive Director of the Suffield by the River Senior Residential Community in Connecticut. CPA Susan J. Hanagan is a graduate of Stonehill College.

My sweet peas bushes are in full bloom, purple iris is coming out. By noon Kelly had her umbrella up. Kelly put a lot of branches out for the trashmen but didn't tie them up and so were not taken. Once before I tied them up for her, not this time. I drove out before 9am and made a deposit at Island Pond, the renovations at the bank are not complete and are taking a long time. Went through the Goodwill but bought nothing. The vitamin store at the Acres has moved to Centennial Plaza, grass of the cemetery next door is nicely mowed.

Then out to the Wilbraham town offices where police cruiser #94 was parked in the lot with with the window wide open and no officer in it. Somewhat improper, I should say. In the Assessor's Office they gave me the parties to contact about appealing a rebate decision. The Town Planner was not in so I left a note on his desk. I came home down Stony Hill Road and got a cake at Freihofer's, specials at Stop&Shop, nuts and bolts at Job Lot, left a mini-camera with film for developing at Walmart and got deli-meat at the Boston Road Big Y. I swung by Spags on Cooley and bought a box of potato chips and then bought a deli-baloney at Subway. I brought it home and had it with fruit and lemonade.

Lynn Barry was broadcasting from Six Flags throughout the TV22 news, this being opening day of the season, with spokesman Dean O'Keefe saying they need nice days to bring out big crowds, although on not so nice days it's easier to get on the rides. According to O'Keefe, Six Flags spent over $100 million upgrading the former Riverside Park. The news also showed World War II vets being given their high school diplomas. It's a disgrace that it took so long. Where is the old vet with the presence of mind to say, "What good is a diploma now? I do not want it." Read in my military books today, especially Dave Grossman on killing.

A little black kid down at Lake Worth Middle School in Florida, an honor student who got sent home for throwing water balloons, came back and killed a young, male teacher who happened to be Methodist. It's amazing more grad professors haven't been killed for flunking kids on prelims, dissertations or whatever. Joe Sibilia heads the Gasoline Alley Foundation at the rear of the See Gallery in Springfield. Sibilia was among a group of socially conscious investors that sought to buy Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. Sibilia gave the anti-casino activists space for their campaign. A good guy.

May 28, 2000

The Mind Eraser at Riverside stalled thirty feet up and they had to use a cherry picker to get people down. The Connecticut River is several feet above normal. John J. Richards is President of the International Union Operating Engineers Local 98 in East Longmeadow. A day home, decided not to go anyplace except to to get the Sunday paper, which was absolutely worthless. First thing this morning I planted the zinnias and most of the marigolds. I put them by the Elm tree by the hedge behind the black raspberries. Mother would want it that way.

I called Pat at Edwards Books and put in an order for the book on pressure point fighting. Eamon called and said he is fixing to go to Mendon to buy a large safe to keep his things in while he is away. He said he already has trip wires, grenades and three revolvers to protect his property. Paul J. Brown called and asked, "Is this Storrowtown? I replied, "I wish you wouldn't bother me with any more of your bothersome calls." They said, "I don't think I'm being bothersome," so I rose my voice and cried out, "Well I do!" and hung up in their ear.

Shirley Whittier Huang called and said she'd tried several times to reach me (oh?) but would like to come over this afternoon. Since I have my phone ID and my phone was not off the hook yesterday, that is probably a fib. I said I would be delighted to have her and offered to come get her. She said no, so I told her how to get here, warning her that I have no special food to serve and that the place wasn't picked up. After she hung up, I scurried around picking up and had just finished the dishes when she arrived, coming through the back gate as I had instructed. She hadn't pulled into the driveway, but was parked down on Catalpa out of sight. Was Maria in the car? Bonnie?

She told me she came over by Route 57. Shirley is thin, narrow faced and very much guarded. I gave her a box of books about Chinese topics and showed her my Currier & Ives The Little Sister but she remarked that she doesn't know much about art. I also gave her some maple syrup, strawberries and Zadock Thompson's Vermont. I took her into the basement and explained about my diary and showed her a few things, such as my signed Coolidge and the Little Red Riding Hood. As I showed her the Punch print she exclaimed, "Where do you get all these things!"

Next I walked her around upstairs and then we sat in the parlor and talked. We discussed Mother and I told her we had agreed on cremation and that I bought the urn myself. I told her how the hospice people congratulated me on what a good job I had done taking care of Mother. Shirley said Aunt Maria's okay but her gold beads haven't been found. She has met Edith and knows Ruth but said nothing about her. We discussed a number of other matters such as Dorene coming to New England this summer, but I was disturbed by her many pauses when I asked questions. She claimed to be "a neutral party" in the estrangement between me and my aunt, but there was nothing neutral about her standoffishness. There were some conspicuous pauses as she hesitated to give Bonnie's last name. I took her picture on her way out, though she made a crack to the effect that now I have evidence that she was here. I wanted to carry her box of books to her car but she insisted on carrying it herself. Shirley was here from 5:15 to 6:15, roughly.

So much for Sunday.

May 30, 2000

Overcast and 55 degrees at 7:45am.

WFCR said the Vermont Agency for Human Development says that "Vermonters lead better lives than most Americans." Author Barbara Cortland has died, Mother liked her. The dip in gas prices has evaporated. It is ridiculous to ride five miles to the grocery store and back even if it is only a seven minute ride. We are too wasteful. Finished Dave Grossman on killing today, also finished Heckler on the Warrior Spirit. Dined today on creamed beef, potato and salad.

Basketball Hall of Fame employees are taking pay cuts, 50% for the top four guys, 20% for all others. The cuts are necessary because it is "taking more time than we anticipated for private elements to fall into place." The groundbreaking is scheduled for June 23rd. The Reminder for May 29th has a story on the Wolf Swamp and Blueberry Hill cost overruns in Longmeadow with Assistant Superintendent Joseph Flahive saying, "We have no control over costs." On TV22, Harriet Michaels was shown with Fran Gagnon helping to dig up a 1960 time capsule. It was Michaels' class that did the time capsule project.

It was my understanding that Gillette would send a package in which I was to return the White Rain container that rusted out, but all they sent me was a shipping label so forget it. Karen Morrissey is Consumer Service Representative for The Gillette Company. Called Ruth from Edwards Books but my pressure point book has not been received from the publisher. Chatted with Gouzanis and my CD will be fully insured by the FDIC, 7.5% for five years. Called Maccabees Life to confirm my policy closed out. At 4:26pm someone called sounding black asking, "Whose zat?" I said don't call again. A. Kozlowski called from 594-2187 saying, "Happy Memorial Day to you. Are you open for lunch?" "No," I replied, "I am not open for lunch and you have the wrong number!"

Eamon called and talked about Jake Nettis who had been General Manager at Dreikorn's bread. Eamon used to write to him after he went to prison. On day the Probation Officer called Eamon and asked, "What is a respectable educator like you doing corresponding with a hit man like Nettis for? I'm not sure you are fully aware of his background." Eamon replied that Nettis once helped him when his car was stalled in the winter and that made him a good guy as far as he was concerned. Nettis lived on Morris Street, in a place that was dumpy on the outside but a palace inside. The FBI found six guns in there and afterward Nettis was afraid the FBI left bugs behind so whenever he had to talk about something shady he'd go out back among the grape vines. The Empire Cafe was on the corner of Morris. In prison Nettis ran the prison laundry and they said he did the best job anyone had ever done.

May 31, 2000

Sunny and 64 degrees at noon.

Calvin's son John Coolidge has died in New Hampshire at age 93. The news says there is a movement in New York called ABC - Anybody But Clinton. Hillary's opponent Lazio sounds like a fine candidate. A female reporter on TV22 mispronounced "precautionary" as "procautionary." New England Toyota has been running a sickening commercial with a professional woman in it talking about their sales saying, "Why are we doing it? To save you money, it's just that simple." But of course it's not, they are doing it to make themselves money. I shall save money, however, simply by not patronizing them.

Big rhubarb stalks, blueberries in full bloom. Completed a Noah's Ark puzzle last night. At 8:09am I dropped off reading material with Mrs. Staniski. Ann is flying to Oregon today. Mrs. S. said of The Parables of Peanuts, "That book is a real treasure." From there I went downtown and parked on Salem. Got some posters off the CVS kiosk, including English and Spanish versions promoting the Community Blood Drive and the West Springfield Taste of the Common. Into my broker, where I put a $55,000 CD at 7.5% for five years. Gouzanis said his wife has written a children's book and wanted to know how she could find a publisher. I mentioned a number of possibilities.

From there I bought the BLT special at Subway but nothing that special about it. The new art gallery in Tower Square is not open yet with no hours posted. There is stuff in there and a few lights on, but nobody inside. Can't sell by osmosis. Next to the long abandoned Sheraton garage across from the towers, a police cruiser was parked with the window open and nobody around. There was a lot of papers on the seat. I stood there for several minutes before I took a card out of my pocket and wrote that this is the second time in a week I've found a cruiser unattended with the window open. I then flicked the card in the window. Back at the car at 10:57am and when I got home at 11:10am there was a Union-News Extra with a Walmart insert hanging from my mailbox.

A special team is going to oversee the Lawrence Schools. We need such a team here, and the sooner the better. Chatted with Eamon, who is thinking of buying a 400lb safe. He also recalled how when he was at A.I.C. a Chinese Professor named Woo said that the yellow race will take over the world, claiming that even if they lost half their population they would still dominate. It is amazing that he would say that openly to his class. Eamon says that Tom Devine has been calling to listen to his phone editorials, as has the Basketball Hall of Fame. He said it is widely known that that the Hall of Fame is having cash flow problems. The Hall is disappointed that the NBA "hasn't really stepped up to the plate" when it comes to financial support. Even though Tom Burton told me in writing I should hear no more from Hampden, today I got a brochure from him addressed to Mother and me. I told Eamon that Tom Burton is an individual who does not care and who cannot be trusted even when he puts it in writing. Eamon says I should tell Burton off again, but this time I'll just sit quietly for a while.

Note from TD - It is my intention to let Wesley speak first before any outside analysis or commentary is made on the diary by me. However, many of you who know something of the events going down around this time will note something is conspicuous in its absence. Nevermind, all will be unveiled in all good time.

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