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.

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