December 1999

December 1, 1999

37 degrees at 2:40pm.

There is rioting and looting all over downtown Seattle in anti-globalization protests. Shannon O'Brien is our State Treasurer. Paula Berthiahume is Title Clerk for Ford Motor Credit Company in Southboro, Massachusetts. Dennis A. Hawes and Aimee L. Gladden are students at the High School of Commerce. Had Corn Flakes, grapefruit and a Hungry Man Chicken Dinner today.

My oil tank is 5/8ths full. Simple days have a way of becoming complicated. Out at nine and noticed the white car of the Cohn's housekeeper in their driveway. Next door at Cressotti's is a sign for Jenkins Residential Roofing. I got a copy of today's paper out of the trash can in front of Louis & Clark. From there I drove to Stop&Shop and got a few groceries on special. Then I went to the Eastfield Mall and asked at Sears whether they had body suits, but they had none. At Filene's the poinsettia tree is gone. As I was leaving, President Caprio walked past and pretended not to notice me. But after we had passed each other by about 30 feet I turned around and caught him turning and looking at me. Ha! As I headed back, I noticed that the parking lot of the Evangelical Covenant church was very full.

Home at 10:55am and found my shipment from Lawbook Exchange had arrived. The mail was here at 1pm for a change and the title certificate arrived for the car. I also got a copy of Elms Today which listed me as a donor but not Eamon. Socrates Babacus called and said Karen Powell told him that his signature was among those being challenged. Babacas thinks that Mayor Albano should be the subject of a recall petition. I called Fred Whitney but he said he couldn't talk because he was going to pick up his son at the airport where he is returning from Florida.

Eamon called and we discussed some of the stories in the paper, such as how only 20 people showing up for the public hearing for the Cecil masterplan. Eamon then wondered why Priscilla Ress hasn't been doing any of her consumer protection segments lately on TV. Eamon then recalled how when he took over the Andover Institute at 145 State Street, he was hired after a luncheon at The Fort with the Lipenis brothers of Boston. Eamon claims he "turned the whole place around" and I can believe it. Eamon says Mrs. Leroy Crenshaw told Karen Powell that Charlie Ryan wants all the stadium signatures verified.

Eamon then told me that his friend Gingras the teacher informed him that he was in Principal Winegar's office while Negroni was screaming over the phone that TV40 was investigating the absentee rates at Commerce and demanding that Winegar make no statement to the media. TV40 reporters tried to enter Commerce to do interviews with students and staff but were turned away at the door. Gingras says that Negroni never wants anybody in the school system talking to the media, and if they do he threatens them with losing their jobs. Eamon has been told that Negroni has plants throughout the system who fill him in on what's going on. Nader the Hatter's sister, who works at Sci-Tech, says everybody is scared, especially since Sci-Tech's attendance is as bad as at Commerce. Attendance is also poor at Putnam, although Central High is a little better with only 200 out per day.

December 2, 2000

Sunny, 28 degrees at 7:30am.

Last night Parliament voted to end British rule in Ireland. There was a conference in Worcester for educators from all over the state to discuss working character instruction into education. TV coverage showed Commissioner of Education David Driscoll and Roberta Schaefer, Vice Chair of the Board of Education. TV22 has revealed that Springfield has a new distinction - it is among the 10 metropolitan areas with the smoggiest air. The Crossroads Development Park is on Bobala Road in Holyoke.

The Food Mart on Springfield Street in Agawam is to be replaced by a Super Food Mart like we have here. A commercial on TV40 showed that Savers is offering 50% off this weekend on black leather motorcycle jackets. That is not characteristic of the products they normally carry. The news on TV57 showed a person in a biker jacket rioting in Seattle. They say the rioters are middle class youth worried about their future. Good for them.

Edwards Books in Baystate West is getting a lot of publicity because it is not doing well and trying hard to survive. This week they are having local authors in to sign their books. Friday, Barry Moser will sign autograph his illustrated Bible, Thursday Dick Garvey and Wayne Phaneuf will be in to autograph their history of the newspaper and today was Amy Lyon, author of In a Vermont Kitchen. Others slated to appear are Anita Shreve, Suzanne Strempek Shea and Michael White. I'm enjoying reading Tom Devine's Ogulewicz Chronicles. Eamon called and said he's been talking to Nader the Hatter in Florida. Szuch's husband has checked into a New York hospital for heart surgery.

I received a call today informing me that Aunt Maria is in the hospital and will be going into a nursing home. The call came from Sue Canus, an R.N. at Mercy Hospital, who said Aunt Maria was brought in at 3pm yesterday after a fall. She described Aunt Maria as "sitting upright but confused." She was found by Shirley lying on the floor who called for help. Police officers were involved. Aunt Maria will be taken tomorrow to to the Riverdale Gardens Rehabilitation and Nursing Center at 42 Prospect Avenue in West Springfield.

So I left here and arrived at Mercy Hospital and was directed to Room 540. The nurse in charge, Sarah-Kate Fitzell, said Aunt Maria "just had a spill." I spoke to her doctor Gaziane, a small fellow, who said he and his partner Gary Jacobs are handling Aunt Maria's recovery. Gaziane described Aunt Maria suffering from "chronic dementia" which will only get worse. He said when she arrived at Mercy she was dehydrated and needs care in a nursing home for at least several weeks as she is "too weak" to return home.

I found Aunt Maria lying in her hospital bed and looked a mess. I almost cried to see her in such a condition. I couldn't help but recall how a few weeks earlier she had said in her parlor that she was happier than she had been in a long time. Aunt Maria managed to sit up and talk, although somewhat scatterbrained, about how lovely Mother was, that she didn't like my whiskers and was afraid that the hospital staff were out to get her. As I left I told nurse Fitzell that Aunt Maria can be paranoid and sometimes turns against those who are trying to help her. The nurse smiled and said she understands as earlier Aunt Maria had shouted at her, "You're trying to kill me!"

December 3, 1999

36 degrees at 7:15am.

The Visiting Nurse Association and Hospices of Western New England is having an Interfaith Memorial Service on December 14 at 50 Maple Street.

This was another busy day. Today I paid $12 for a scalping at the barber shop in the Acres. $10 plus a $2 tip. I wanted to make the queerest possible impression at the art show so I wore my orange suit and logger boots all day. I put out a lot of mail at Breckwood, including something to Donald Newhouse. I then drove down to the newspaper headquarters and left some papers for Robyn Newhouse, from which I've heard nothing lately. I parked on Salem and found a copy of the Wall Street Journal in a trash can by SIS.

From the paper I went to B. Moser's book signing where I was the first one there. Moses was seated at a table back by the children's section. I bought his book after ascertaining it was printed on acid free paper. Moser wrote in my inscription, "I believe Jesus was gay." I was surprised to see Atty. Berman come in wearing a loud tie. He was jovial but for some reason swore me not to tell anyone I saw him there. He didn't thank me for the copy of my book I gave him. I looked at Garvey and Phaneuf's History of the Springfield Newspapers, which is glossy with color pictures and a lot of hype about the paper in general and Springfield in particular.

Afterwards I got a deli-baloney sandwich at Subway, where there were lots of Latino customers who were very friendly. Down at Northgate I exchanged pleasantries with the liquor store owner and ran into Dan Carr. All of the businesses at Northgate are running except the medical center is gone and that's a biggie. There are Christmas lights all over downtown which create a Bright Lights wonderland effect which is quite lovely.

I then drove over to the TV57 Art Show opening and was fortunate to be able to park in the first space besides Hampden Savings Bank. The art show itself was at First Church and they gave me a program whose color was black instead of the pretty picture they've put on them in the past. A sign of hard times? Susan Tilton Pecora was the featured artist with her portraits of buildings in Deerfield. They had some Little Red Riding Hood pieces, but I didn't want them.

There were scanty snacks of crackers, cheese and I was offered wine but refused. Jack Briggs was casually dressed but Roy Scott wore a tuxedo. David Starr (without Peggy this year) wore his usual brown pants and tweed jacket. Starr disappeared early, perhaps having spotted me. There were no black people present. The eccentric rainbow lady I met at the Sacco Vanzetti meeting greeted me. Most of the art was mediocre. Pecora's stuff is great, but who wants a rural Congregationalist church on their wall?

I called Atty. R. Gendron and told him that Aunt Maria has been moved to Riverdale from Mercy. I told him Riverdale is on Prospect Street right over the Mass Pike, the last road before Holyoke. We discussed her estate and I told him that her estate is worth about a million. I said she mentioned leaving most of it to me, but also some to Thelma who brings her to church, Ruth, something to the church to repair its roof and some kind of a memorial to her husband George, who made her the money in the first place. He listened politely and told me his office is at 890 Springfield Street in Feeding Hills.

Eamon has a wonderful new tape: "There are hundreds of kids absent each day in Springfield's Commerce, Sci-Tech and Putnam schools with hundreds more tardy. Many of those who do attend disappear around noontime. So how many kids are actually enrolled and attending classes on a regular basis? We're not talking about the 1200 who are assigned to those schools, but to those actually in attendance. Superintendent Negroni and his toady numbers man Mr. Howell say there are over 20,000 students in the system, but an actual head count would prove otherwise. This is a systemic problem that is out of control and calls for an investigation." Very good.

I chatted with Eamon later and he said a custodian he knows who has worked in the schools for 30 years told him that "things are a lot worse in the schools" than the public thinks. "Ten times worse," he was told, "people have no idea of how bad it is." Eamon says Negroni was investigated by the Education Department's Dispatcher General when he was down in the Bronx.

December 4, 1999

42 degrees on the breezeway at 7:15am.

WFCR news said this morning the World Trade Organization conference was "a failure and a fiasco." Good, I'm with labor on this one. Later NBC News had a story on Seattle and the jubilation of the protesters, focusing on several wearing black leather motorcycle jackets, which has truly become the uniform of choice for troublemakers. George K. Mazareas is the Director of the Massachusetts Economic Assistant Coordinating Council.

I wrote a letter today to Atty. Gendron about Aunt Maria's will and then mailed it at Louis & Clark. There were no papers in the trash. Coming back to the car, I ran into Bob Robinson, the Valley Advocate photographer, and when I asked if he got my pictures he sputtered and said he will look for them next time he is in the Advocate office. He was all smiles and he takes splendid pictures, but still strikes me as something of a dodger.

I keep telling myself that I am going to withdraw a bit from public activity, but I keep getting lured out by different adventures. I'm certainly not going to go to all the events in the coming year that I went to last year. Today I went to the Memorial Service at Byron's Funeral Home on Allen Street which they held for their clients who have died in the past year. I was surprised to find the place almost full with over a hundred people present. Many were not really dressed for a Memorial Service and there were only a few Latinos and no blacks.

They had a Christmas tree up in front with an ornament on it for each deceased person. As they read your relative's name from a roster, you could go up and take the ornament with their name on it. They served fruit punch and cookies and that was it. We also got a Norman Rockwell calendar with the Byron's logo on it and a booklet How to Deal With Grief in the Holiday Season. It was a nice event. On the way home I dropped off a big bag of reading material at the Cohn's and found Irving standing in his driveway wearing sweat pants. I told him he looks great, especially having just had an operation.

A letter from Atty. Alan Goodman came today saying there may be a case to be made against Ring Nursing Home but there's not enough money in it. The mail also brought the lab report from Dr. Mullan. I called for an update on Aunt Maria and nurse Kate informed me she lives across the street from me in the white house with blue trim at 1556 Wilbraham Road. She said I once came to her tag sale and bought a dollhouse. Kate said that Aunt Maria fractured her hip on the 2nd and "seems to be alert, she answered my questions appropriately. " The doctor wants her to sit up in a chair this afternoon. I asked Kate to tell my aunt that her nephew called.

Dined tonight on a Swanson Fish Filet Dinner. Eamon called this evening, and when I told him about the service he said he had never heard of such an event. Eamon says that Gingras the Commerce teacher is getting $52,000 per year. According to Eamon, Dr. Negroni buys the loyalty of his teachers with high salaries - Keep your mouth shut about what's going on and you'll be well paid.

December 4, 2000

Sunny, 48 degrees on the breezeway at 12:15pm.

Am I an Anal Compulsive Record-keeper? My best ideas come at night, but Arnold B. Kanter claims, "For many lawyers, bathroom time is their most productive and profound thinking time." Gail A. Seklecki is President of the Chicopee Chamber of Commerce.

Last night I slept for a while with my right ear on the pillow and when I awoke I had a very intense, high pitched ringing on that side. After about an hour it went away. Drove out at quarter to nine and bought a paper at Louis & Clark to read about the Cecil report community survey. First I stopped at the Acres Big Y and got two free boxes of Cream of Wheat with a coupon. Next I drove over to Carew and made copies at the convenience store on the corner of Nottingham Street and made copies of Devine's Ogulewicz Chronicles, which I left at Eamon's.

From there, I drove down to Mercy Hospital, where I found Aunt Maria still in the same room with various tubes attached, teeth out, looking pretty much a mess. I announced my presence and informed her that I had brought the morning paper. I told her that I loved her and cherished the memories of the many good times we had together. Nurse Kate arrived, a thin woman with a big smile, who said that Aunt Maria will be going to rehab tomorrow. She said a group from the church had already visited earlier today. I told Aunt Maria that while I won't visit regularly, I'll call to see how she is doing.

When I was leaving, I recalled how Nader the Hatter once told me that Mercy has good food, so I went to their cafeteria and had sausage links, eggs and fruit for $1.85. It's help yourself so you can get a nice portion. Then over to 223 Forest Park Avenue for the Forest Park 100 Year Old House Tour put on by the Forest Park Civic Association. I parked across from Steve Hay's house. Belle Rita Novak was helping with the registrations and I took her picture.

It was a lovely day for a house tour. I was wearing my full purple outfit featuring purple pants with cup, logger's boots, biker jacket, padlocked chain with dog tags and wearing an earring. A sight to behold, but all very neat and clean, just very queer. Many of the houses in Forest Park were already decorated for Christmas. They were selling copies of the Forest Park historical booklet with a map for $3 and I bought one.

The first house we visited was Hay's, which was in some respects the best one. It is a large house with a beautiful collection of bottles along the kitchen sink and a dollhouse on the second floor. There was a bad reproduction of a famous painting of Venice in the living room, real art was scarce. I ran into Fidele Malloy, who told me her father's name was Fidel. I also chatted with someone named Lavalle who said he works in healthcare. He goes power walking every morning and sometimes runs into Mayor Albano. Lavalle believes the city is bonding too much and that Springfield needs a radical change in leadership.

65 Bellevue is a house with steam radiators still in use. I told the owner her house is lovely as I left, and she said she remembered hearing me speak at the City Council adding, "You did a good job, you spoke well." 106 Magnolia had an ugly painting of some roses in a field of grey, while 36 Magnolia has an immense beech tree in the lot next door. Finally we arrived at former Mayor Charles V. Ryan's house, which I believe was built in 1906, and thereby is less than a hundred years old. Ryan was good natured and cordial to me, as was his wife Joan. I asked about a chair that was similar to the one Father got from Monarch and Ryan told me he got it from the family of Monarch President C.Y. Young. He also showed me a campaign button from his 1968 congressional campaign against Boland. "Everything in this house has a story behind it," Ryan said.

On the way home, I left a copy of Moser's Bible with Mrs. Cohm, who exclaimed that the illustrations are wonderful. Eamon called and confessed that he sent in five Cecil survey forms using fake names. He also told me that Negroni is sitting on the latest test scores to avoid embarrassment. He believes that only reforms instituted in the schools from the bottom up will work, not ones from the top down. My phone ID showed M. Stone called from 737-9855 asking, "Is this the kitchen?" Yes, I replied. "Marty?" they asked. "Not here now," I said and hung up.

December 5, 2000

Rainy, mild, 51 degrees at 8:30am.

James Peyser is Chairman of the Mass Board of Education and David Driscoll is Commissioner of the Mass Department of Education. I drove out and got the morning paper out of the trash can in front of Louis & Clark. Then I went across the street to Dunkin Donuts and bought a dozen donuts with a dollar off coupon. Next I drove over to Angelo's for mostly fruit and as I was leaving it was raining heavily.

Dined today on grapefruit, brown bread, pork chops, spaghetti and donuts. Mrs. Staniski's 90th birthday is Saturday the llth and her daughter Ann is taking Friday off to come home and be with her. I spoke on the phone today with Mrs. Cohn, who says the family was there yesterday afternoon. She told me they all looked at Moser's Bible and claimed that she herself has always been an admirer of Barry Moser's work and that she once visited his studio. I called about Aunt Maria and nurse Jean said that "she's doing well but a little confused." I asked if she will be leaving for the nursing home and Jean replied, "It could happen, but I haven't heard about it."

Eamon called and said the Basketball Hall of Fame is the poorest attended Hall of Fame of any major sport. Worse, the Ladies Basketball Hall of Fame just opened and is a big success in Tennesee. Eamon claims the Baseball Hall of Fame gets 475,000 visits per year, football gets 400,000 and the Springfield Hall doesn't even get 100,000 visitors per year. Eamon then recalled how he had two friends who sold their homes to live downtown in Chestnut Towers, Al Hirshorn the jeweler and Al Cyriac, a good friend of Mayor Tommy O'Connor who was in the wholesale lumber business. They didn't like it when welfare recipients with housing subsidies moved in on the same floor as them. Within two years they had moved out because "the goddamn place was ruined." Hirshorn sold a $400,000 house in Longmeadow to move there and Cyriac had given up a nice place in Wilbraham.

We then talked about the obituary in the paper for The Rev. Dr. Dorothy Spoerl, 93, who taught at A.I.C. from 1946 to 1957. Her classes were held in the big lecture room in Lee Hall. She had an adopted son Walter who was sort of the class dummy. Eamon recalled a time when Walter used a bow and arrow to impale a pigeon on the roof. It was still alive, so Dr. Spoerl climbed up the porch railing to rescue it, but Walter (who was a big fellow) failed to help her get back down and she fell and had to teach her classes wearing a cast on her foot. Young Walter had a dirty mouth because his mother felt children should be able to express themselves any way that wanted so swearing was okay. Dorothy Spoerl was an advocate of Free Love and appeared in an article on that topic in Life Magazine in the 1950's. She was also the subject of rumors that there were communists teaching at A.I.C. that included not only Spoerl but Whitelaw and Mather.

Eamon was a student in Sproel's Abnormal Psych class where she was always giving the class psychological tests. His friend Bobby Fitzgerald was diagnosed by her as being overly aggressive towards women. Daniel Patrick Murphy was also in the class and later become President of Hampden Chemical. Murphy had two brothers who were priests, with one becoming President of Merrimack College. Spoerl was anti-Catholic and let it show, saying that she considered all people raised Catholic to be victims of brainwashing. I told Eamon about how I was told by the Unitarian Universalist church historian that a professor at A.I.C. was a strong advocate for tearing down their beautiful State Street church and building a new one on Porter Lake Drive. As a doctor of divinity, we both agreed that who else could it have been if not Sproel?

December 6, 1999

Sun out but not for long, 54 degrees at 6:15pm.

Things are moving slowly around here, especially with Christmas coming up and I feel the flu coming on. Females in Training at the Breckwood Shops has an ad saying, "Merry Fitness!" Dr. Anthony P. Giannetti has a dental office at 275 Bicentennial Highway in Springfield. The McNally Brothers have an office in the same building. Shawn Jenks works for Map Display Inc. in Westfield.

I called Lovejoy and got his answering machine, but said nothing. I called Mercy and the RN Jean said Aunt Maria has been sent to Riverdale Gardens. She described her to me as "still confused when she left." So I called Riverdale Gardens and was told that Aunt Maria is in Rm. 115 and is confined to a wheelchair. I asked that she be told that I called and that I would be coming by.

So I drove over to Riverdale Gardens, which is lacking in the pretensions of elegance of some nursing homes. It is nice enough but shows some hints of tackiness. Aunt Maria can see a little greenery out her window and she has a roommate named Mary Dearden. I found Aunt Maria seated in a wheelchair wearing a rose robe and looking somewhat better and more normal. She immediately said to me, "Wesley, will you please go away? You're not supposed to be here. I do not want you coming near me. I know you'd like to have me killed!"

A nurse, Marilyn Rossi, appeared and asked me to speak with Debra Kratoul, the Unit Manager, and Ann Smidt, a social worker. They asked me to step into a private room and on our way there I caught them staring at my scalped hair and biker jacket. Debra said that Aunt Maria didn't want me coming to see her. I replied that it was fine with me, as I live twenty miles away and have other things to do. However, I explained that as her only living relative, I felt obliged to look over the place she is staying and assured them I would be making inquiries about the reputation of the nursing home. I promised not to harass my aunt with visits, but would call to inquire about her condition.

Channel 22 is asking people to drop off toys at their new station, and Jerry Franklin, President of CPTV, is suavely begging for thousand dollar gifts. I called the Unitarian Universalist Association and spoke to their Administrator Trisha, but she knew nothing about Dorothy Spoerl or any other A.I.C. professor pushing for their historic downtown church to be demolished. There are no plans to have a memorial service for Spoerl, so I dropped it at that.

December 8, 1999

Lovely day, 34 degrees at 8:45.

The latest space probe to Mars is a failure. In today's paper there is an obituary for Dr. William Baker, who was the Medical Director for Monarch from 1976 until 1990 when he moved to Merrill-Lynch. He was a member of Trinity Methodist Church. The Great New England Air Show will be held August 12-13 at Westover Air Reserve Base. The news says Riverside Park will be opening in early May as Six Flags New England. Russ Campbell is a store manager for Big Y Supermarket.

The current value of my Northwest Utilities stock holdings are $893.75. I have diminished hearing in my right ear today. Kelly has set up elaborate Christmas decorations around her house, including green lights and wreaths. I left the house late and stopped at Irving Cohn's. He was sitting in the family room which has a sofa, a somewhat large TV and a bookcase with cabinets beneath. I got back my Oak Knoll catalog, but nothing else I had lent him marked "return." I asked if he knew the name of a good urologist and Mrs. Cohn suggested Leonard Shaker, whom she described as "a local boy." The Cohn's are having Terry Deriso Barton over for supper and I could smell spices cooking already. There was a bag of trash by the door so I offered to take it out and she asked if I'd take the old newspapers out as well. When she thanked me she added, "I'm so glad Myra had good friends like you."

From the Cohn's I drove to La Fiorintina Bakery and bought $10 worth of fancy pastry filled with whipped cream plus strawberries dipped in chocolate. Then I drove to the Boston Road Big Y, thinking of buying some lobster, but the $18 cost was more than I wanted to pay so I settled for two orders of scallops. Next I went to Bickford's and bought two liver and onion dinners with mashed potatoes and butternut squash to go. It came with rolls but they forgot the butter.

When I arrived at Mrs. Staniski's a female neighbor was just leaving. Mrs. Stanisiki's place has always been impeccably clean, nothing like Aunt Maria. Even the inside of Mrs. Staniski's refrigerator is tidy. She has a little television in the kitchen and big one in the basement. I brought with me as a gift a sweater that Mother had bought at King's Department Store but had never worn. We had dinner at the kitchen table and then we opened the pastries and each had one. I told her the rest are for her and Ann to share over the weekend. At one point Mrs. Staniski recalled how miserable Aunt Maria had been on the trip to Madison. She also showed me a music box that was bought by her mother in the 1930's which was still in perfect condition, as good as new. She thanked me profusely and I told her she is a good Christian woman and I wished her a happy 90th birthday.

When I got home I called Shaker at Pioneer Valley Urology and made an appointment with his receptionist Debbie for January 24th. I called Shirley who told me she doesn't expect there to be anything left of Aunt Maria's estate if she lives much longer. Maybe she's hinting that I shouldn't expect anything. I replied that there are things in Aunt Maria's house that belong to me, including pictures and the spinning wheel. I also said the stuff in Uncle George's old shop are all mine, as well the boxes of books in the basement plus the old stove and the blue washing machine. She was noncommittal about I said.

I have heard nothing from Eamon in the last couple days. The MCAS test scores were released today, inspiring a bitter phone editorial from Eamon, "Springfield's dismal MCAS scores should mean the end for the social promotion, rudderless charlatan Superintendent Peter Negroni, who lacks the decency to resign while the inept, rubber stamp School Board lack the courage to fire him. We're stuck with this despicable villain, who talks a good game but fails to deliver. He produced the same failing results in District 12 in the Bronx. Since his arrival in 1989 to date not a single principal or teacher has been fired. I'm afraid our school system, lacking accountability, employee evaluation and supervision is doomed to a state takeover."

December 9, 1999

36 degrees and frosty at 8:45am.

The Powell's are having their fundraiser to help cover legal expenses in the Northgate fight, which are piling up even though Charlie Ryan is donating his time free of charge and Councilor Foley is helping as well. It will be held on December 16th at 7am at the John Boyle O'Reilly Club. On Days of Our Lives there was a scene with a young fellow in a biker jacket talking to his blonde girlfriend.

Went out this morning to Louis & Clark and mailed a check to Ford Associates. Then I went to the AAA office and found that they have moved from their digs behind Walker's on Cooley and Allen and moved into the front of what was Mikara's Nightclub. Mary-lou Irvine, a chubby and friendly lady (chubby people are often the friendliest) waited on me, taking the documents and saying she will bring them to the registry and will call when I can pick up the new plates. I was in and out very promptly.

After supper, Nader the Hatter called at 5:44pm, saying that he would be there in a half an hour but didn't arrive until a few minutes after seven. He said he had just been to visit a relative on Ashland named Daniel Donovan. Nader brought me a copy of a speech by President Clinton he was inspired by and I gave him a book on art collector I.S. Gardner plus a copy of the Ogulewicz Chronicles since he had never seen it. Nader says they are supposed to close the Grenada Street house on Monday, but there are still things to be done. His father is in bad shape, having lost all sense of time and he gets angry with people who disagree with him in any way. Nader is going to take the old man to see a neurologist in Connecticut after the first of the year.

I watched the fireman's funeral service in Worcester on TV. Eamon called and described the relationship between the School Committee and Dr. Negroni as "a rope a dope routine." We talked about the Worcester firefighter and Eamon believes the Chief should have never sent the men into the building. Then we talked about ways to revive the Riverfront and I suggested a replica of the Great Wall of China be built for pedestrians to walk over the expressway. Eamon said, "When you're dealing with a dumbed down, misinformed population like Springfield you can feed them all the crap you want and get away with it. If the newspaper would only do their job we wouldn't have these problems."


January 2000

January 1, 2000

27 degrees at 7:45am.

The cold weather is still here, damned overcast, the sun crying to come out. Dined on broccoli and lasagna. Carellas Insurance Agency is located at 180 Union Street in West Springfield.

Called the nursing home yesterday and got Debbie who said Aunt Maria is "just fine" and there are no plans for her to come home until "she has a talk with her physician." She said ladies come regularly to visit her and Aunt Maria told the staff that she wants nothing more than to live to see the millennium. I watched TV last night and TV22 was celebrating the Grand Opening of their new station. Judy Matt was shown at Court Square, where there were already 800 people gathered by 6:30pm. I went to bed at 11:30 and that was it.

I waved to Michael today over the hedge, but didn't call anyone to wish them a Happy New Year. Eamon called me and said he spoke with ten people today and six of them had colds. He complained that they're saying it will take three weeks to fix the hole in Main Street in front of Tilly's. He said in NYC a main installed in 1894 burst at the corner of 93rd and 2nd and it was fixed in a day. He says it's tough to get people to do things right. Eamon said his sister Kathleen had a wonderful New Year's at Chez Josef for $100, dancing to a big band with a continental breakfast served at midnight. Candice Lopes called reminding me that I got an invitation to Albano's inauguration tomorrow. I thanked her saying I'll try to come.

Went to McDonald's for hotcakes, no sausage. No Valley Advocates at Louis & Clark so I drove downtown and got an Advocate out of a newsbox and bought a Union-News out of a box in front of the post office. Richard Garvey is gone from the paper's masthead, although he and Fran Gagnon were cited in their millennium coverage as local experts on the history of the valley in the last century. Downtown was pretty much deserted. I walked around Court Square and found a little confetti on the ground and got the millennium program from First Church out of a trash can, then home.

January 3, 2000

Heavily overcast all day, 50 degrees at 10:40am.

The news said that as the Millennium begins there are 35 wars in progress around the world. In the 50's and 60's we were told that technology would make it possible for a shorter work week, but the opposite has happened with workers now required to work mandatory overtime as Americans work more hours than any other country on Earth. Technology makes life more competitive as everyone struggles to keep up.

Kelly still has her green backyard lights up. I have put the sample of millennium graffiti I got off the ground in Court Square on New Year's Day in a tiny baggy to preserve for historical purposes. They successfully suckered me into going to the pre-Inaugural event at First Church, but not Mayor Albano's inauguration itself. I wore my purple outfit with bondage collar with two big queer buttons attached to my crotch area, a real innovation, but nobody said anything. Went downtown and parked on Salem. The porn shop told me they sell six or seven copies of Leatherman magazine each month.

I arrived at First Church just as the service was starting. The guy at the door said it was not a public event, but I pulled out my invitation and that took care of that. There were around fifty people present, it looked like all the Albano people were there. Candice Lopes spoke and a group from the Golden Agers sang. The sermon was about wisdom. Ms. Van Orter engaged me in conversation briefly, I also congratulated Loesch on his sermon and he was very cordial. The breakfast was disappointing, no eggs or meat, just danish, muffins, bagels, fruit juice, coffee, grapes, berries and sliced melons. As I left by the back door I saw Peter Picknelly talking with his real estate man. I waved to him and he grunted as I walked out. Lots of buses with school children in them were arriving for the inauguration. I waved to Albano himself as he walked towards the auditorium.

The mail arrived late. Called Nader the Hatter and left a message telling him I have a present for him. Called Tom Devine who told me that housing values have gone down on Breckwood Boulevard. Talked with Stacia who said the assessor came by and pointed to all the problems with the house. She said her house dates back to 1790, but her father jacked the house up and rebuilt the foundation in 1925. She also said she saw a movie recently at the Academy of Music in Northampton and remarked how that city is so nice "while downtown Springfield has nothing." I told her TV22 had a story about Gary Goss of Northampton, who takes damaged classic film posters and restores them back to good as new.

Eamon called and complained it took him over twenty minutes to place an order for paper with Staples. Eamon told me that School Committee chair K. Shea has passed out this year's committee assignments. Tom Ashe got an inconsequential appointment but Jose Tosado is on the Superintendent Evaluation Committee. Eamon says Tosado has spoken of putting pressure on principals to improve performance but never is critical of Negroni.

Eamon was also intrigued to see a sidebar in the paper claiming that the New York Times stated that Dr. Negroni is under consideration for Chancellor of the New York City Schools. Eamon said he recalled hearing a similar claim years ago, so he decided to get to the bottom of it by making some calls. He called Dr. William Thompson of the Board of Education who said that Negroni is not under consideration. "No truth to it all, sir," he said. Later he spoke to Ralph Blumenthal at the New York Times who declared, "We printed no such thing!" He tried to call Wayne Phaneuf at the Union-News but couldn't get past his secretary.

January 5, 2000

Raw, 42 degrees and sunny at 7:30am.

The Dow took a dive yesterday, but has recovered today. City Stage is putting on Lost Highway: The Music and Legend of Hank Williams thru January 23rd. I have read quite a lot of books in the past year, filling in gaps in my education in many areas. The more libraries there are the more librarians to get into mischief and do things like throwing away books. Xerox has fired 40 employees for surfing the internet on company time. This complies with The Miller Glitch Thesis: Employees often purposely slow down their rate of work in order to ensure there will always be enough work for themselves and their co-workers to do.

Today I went to visit the urologist Dr. Mostafavi. I arrived around 2pm yet had to wait about an hour to see him. They wanted $100 up front, then took a urine sample. The Doctor is a personable young fellow with a degree from Tufts. He said that if I want him to do a biopsy it will cost $750, so I told him that doctoring must be a profitable business. He said he felt nothing wrong and that prostate cancer grows slowly, so there's probably no need for a biopsy this time.

On the way back I stopped at Bickford's on Boston Road for liver and onions ($6.54). Almost stopped at the Boston Road McDonald's for their two Big Macs for $2 special, but with my weight at 197 that would not be good. I also went to Freihofer's and then to Stop&Shop, after which I withdrew $2,500 from the Bank of Western Mass. I drove over to Hillcrest Cemetery and went into their office. They have, I think rather inappropriately, a model train that chugs along a track hung from the ceiling around the office and out into the waiting area. It's cute but makes a noise with is irritating. I didn't complain but asked Director Len Bergeron about it and he said it was donated by "a lot owner."

We walked over to the mausoleum and he said they had enough space for many years before it was full. He also told me there are 25 bells in the carillon and the temperature in the mausoleum never goes above 70 degrees. He said to have my name engraved on the vault would cost about $1600. When I suggested that seemed expensive, he said many people don't have it done because they prefer the privacy. For my $2,000 plus another $300 in fees, I got my "Right of Entombment" certificate. Before going home I swung by Louis & Clark to put out the mail.

My Blackstone rare law books came from Jordon Luttrell came today in a white box and were in nice condition. Received a pretty note of thanks from Terry DeRiso Barton thanking me for remembering her in the matter of McCreach. I called St. Francis and was told the Bishop will have a prayer breakfast after Mass tomorrow. Not sure if I will go, my cold has not gone away.

Chatted with Eamon, who told me he ordered some checks but they came through with his named spelled without the O in O'Sullivan. Nobody can get anything right. Eamon also recalled his friend Larry Humphries who worked in Reichart's framing shop. He was an expert on dance and other artsy things and was a good friend of David Starr. Eamon says he listened to Albano's mayoral address on TV and was disgusted when the Mayor mentioned the city's bond rating without stating that it is currently just above junk bond rating. Eamon spoke again with Blumenthal at the New York Times who told him that when Negroni left NYC for Springfield "they were glad to get rid of him."

January 7, 2000

Overcast and 34 degrees this morning at 8:45am.

The General Edwards Bridge is now finished and open. Saturday I read a third of Law Quibbles (1724) and found it a practical guide to the law rather than an expose of dishonesty by law professionals. I plan to copy some of my rare books so I can put them away for safekeeping and will only use the copies. WFCR this morning played Mozart's Concerto #7 in F (1776).

Decided not to go hear the Bishop although I would have liked to. The reality is my cold is still here, although I took some medicine last night. Bank President Thomas Burton of Hampden has sent me a letter saying he is closing my account due to my "loud, rude and offensive behavior" that was "simply not appropriate for the situation." I will respond in due time.

Found the Union-News Extra by the mailbox. My letter advising that motorcycle jackets for school uniforms has appeared in International Leatherman Magazine Issue #27 page 21. How wonderful, now I have been published in a queer leathersex magazine. I drove out to Fancy That and the lady told she has just gotten over a cold. Then to the porn shop and got the two most recent issues of Leatherman. I didn't know that one had my letter in it until I got home because the magazines were sealed in a plastic bag.

When I got back I saw that Houser Buick had called from 781-0419. Later Nader the Hatter called and said his father has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Nader is leaving on Friday to close on a condo he's buying in Florida. Eamon called and said his sister has the flu, apparently the flu shot she got is not working. Eamon was grumbling about a letter in the paper from J. David Keaney, a staff assistant to Congressman Neal, urging that the rebuilt Armory Street School be named after Eddie Boland. The letter identifies Keaney as living in Springfield, but Eamon heard he has a $400,000 condo in West Springfield in Windpath by the golf course. I said they probably want to name Armory after Boland so that the new courthouse can be named after Neal.

In another example of nobody getting anything right, Eamon mail ordered a sweater and the size he got is too big. John Silber recently sent Eamon a letter praising Eamon for his "brilliant analysis of Springfield's educational challenges." President Silber also told him that nothing can be done about cheating on state tests or the false attendance figures in Springfield unless some courageous teachers and administrators "stand up publicly." Silber said they need signed affidavits from eyewitnesses to the cheating "otherwise it's just gossip."

January 9, 2000

36 degrees and overcast at 9am.

On the last meeting where I was President of the Student Government at Colby in 1963, I gave everyone who served with me a certificate of thanks for everything they had done. I was surprised when Bob Gula came up later and gave me a thank you certificate from the Student Government. Attorney John D. Hewitt lived in Hingham, Massachusetts in 1961. Realtor James C. Brody had an office at 31 Elm Street in 1961.

NBC News says that the true millennial bug is influenza. My cold is slowly subsiding, but it is still preventing me from performing as I'd like to. The mail didn't get here until 1pm and included the electric bill. Most of the day I spent writing belated Christmas letters to the people I didn't have a chance to write to earlier. Drove over to the McDonald's on Allen for hotcakes around 9am. Read the paper there, which had an editorial supporting naming Armory Street School after Congressman Boland.

I had a slice of ham as my main meal. E.R. Trumble called looking for Paul Caron. When I told her she had the wrong number she replied, "I'm sorry to have bothered you." I called the Springfield Newspapers and was told by the receptionist that Howard Datus was in charge of the Cries & Whispers column, but I ended up talking to George Chapman and left an anonymous tip that J. Wesley Miller of Springfield had a letter published in Leatherman magazine. Chapman said he would pass it on at the daily "editorial meeting." Called Tom Devine several times but didn't reach him until 8:29pm. Tom asked if I had received a Christmas card from Doyle the Twig Painter and I replied, "No, I must have scared him off!"

Eamon called and said Officer Spellacy told him that it is futile to try to drive Negroni out because he has the political support to stay as long as he wants. Eamon wants to get copies of the attendance records in Springfield and show them to the state. Eamon accused today's educators of trying to dismiss cheating on state tests by calling it "co-operative learning." We both agreed that Springfield's schools have "passed the point of no return." Eamon also recalled how the woman who did the payroll at the Department of Education told him once that the higher ups at the Department were "deathly afraid of me" and that is why they kept giving him assignments "out in no-man's land."

January 11, 2000

Overcast, 40 degrees at 7:30am.

I can think of no lawyer I would like to see nominated to the State Supreme Court more than John M. Thompson. I loved his celebrated Sacramental Use of Marijuana Defense even if it didn't prevail. A commercial on TV22 showed a lot of punk youths saying, "It's time we were judged by what we do, not by how we look." Excellent. As a child I had a slingshot with a light pastel green handle and a sling of red rawhide.

Finally changed my calendars today. I drove out at 9:45am, made copies, then dropped off a copy of my Leatherman letter at Devine's. From there I bought some coleslaw and a muskmelon at Angelo's, before heading over to Eamon's. The house at 922 Carew Street opposite Nottingham, which had its cement wall damaged, has now been fixed. Eamon has a large Year 2000 pennant hanging out front. He said he is starting to come down with a cold that he thinks he got from his sister's husband. He told me he is going to give up his real estate broker license because he doesn't want to meet the new re-licensing requirements. Eamon said Feinstein Leather still has no heat, so generous soul Eamon got two portable heaters from his attic and brought them down to them. Feinstein told him later that when he turned both of them on at once it blew a fuse.

I went up to Elms College but found nobody on the third floor of the former library, so I left my stuff with Jenna in the Academic Dean's Office. Then I went to the Polish National Credit Union and walking around Chicopee I thought what a nice downtown they have, although everyone I saw was white. On the way back I stopped at the Burger King by Springfield Plaza and bought two Whoppers for two dollars. Springfield Plaza is starting to look tacky with overflowing dumpsters and flocks of seagulls in the parking lot.

Next I went downtown to the Quadrangle, where the guy who used to run the Forest Park branch helped me find a book. I saw McLain walking around. Then I crossed the street to deliver a copy of my Leatherman letter to Dr. Negroni, who was sitting in his office chatting with Committeeman Kenneth Shea. I handed Negroni the letter and he said, "Thanks, Wesley" as I departed. The medallion in the pavement in front of the Campanile is not as sturdy as it looks and needs a new foundation.

The mail came at 1:25pm. Dined on corn chowder, hot dogs and fruit. Called Mrs. Staniski, who said she went to lunch with her daughter Carol, whose birthday is this weekend. I told her if she needs anything feel free to call. Called Hurwitz and left word with his wife about the Back to Main Street article in the Regional Review and told her how to get a free subscription. She was most grateful. Called the nursing home and got Debbie who told me Aunt Maria is in Room 115 and "she's doing fine." Her mind is good and she is pleased to have survived until the millennium. She's not complaining, has regular visitors and hasn't mentioned wanting to go home.

January 12, 2000

Sunny and 40 degrees at 7:45am. Gas is $1.29 at Watershops Pond.

I went out on errands at 9:30am. They are putting up a frame (pre-fab, I think) for a new two story colonial at the eastern corner of Arliss and Wilbraham Road. One day the floor was going in, now today they are working on the second floor. I deposited $500 cash at Albank at 9:50am. A woman in line told me her daughter had just come down with the flu. 10:05am I arrived at the Wilbraham Town Office, where they are putting a new roof on. A lady told me the old roof has been on over 25 years. They are also fixing the air vent over the Collector's Office.

Went to the Assessor's and got abatement forms and then spoke with J. Pearsall the Town Planner. We talked about my wanting to get rid of my Wilbraham property. I told him about the damage Fernbank suffered in the hurricane of 1958. From there I drove to Fernbank itself and found everything secure, although some leaves need to be removed from the roof. At the Wilbraham Post Office I put out my tax payments and lots of other mail. I arrived at the Eastfield Mall at 11:15am and dined on 39 cent McDonald's burgers and a small order of fries. I left Eastfield at 11:45am and stopped by Angelo's at 11:55am but bought nothing.

At 12:09pm I arrived downtown and parked on Salem Street. I walked down the hill to the Census Office where Cindy in charge of recruiting took my photocopies of the relevant documents. She asked when I was last employed by the census and I said 1990. She said she will put the material in my file and then Dave, a big, fat, tall man showed me out. I saw no minorities working in the Census Office. Tilly's is open again and the area around it has been made into a kind of courtyard. I stumbled upon a "Black Cat Found" poster, I've seem many lost pets signs but never one that thanked the public for looking for it. On the way back I paused at A.I.C. to research Blackstone and his poem.

Home at 1:15pm. The mail came at 1:25pm. The title certificate for the car arrived so I can forget about that. No phone calls from Eamon today, he must be sick. I called and left an encouraging get well message on his tape. Eamon's current phone editorial is critical of Robert McCollum, saying he has no expertise for heading the School Building Committee and "should have the decency to declare himself unqualified and resign." There is a wonderful story in the Valley Advocate by Maureen Turner this week on how Mayor Albano let the cable company screw the city, and how cable endowment funds are being channeled through a dummy corporation headed by Gary Shepard to funnel money to the stadium project.

January 13, 2000

36 degrees at 8am.

Got up shortly after 7am and it was snowing steadily. WFCR predicted 4-8 inches and claimed it has been 303 days since we last had snow. WFCR also played Mozart's 13 Piano Concerto and reported that a third of the nation will be Hispanic by 2100. There are simply too many people. All Things Considered had a feature on Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico, who wants to legalize most drugs. I immediately sent him a note praising his efforts.

There was also a wonderful story about a Jewish philanthropist who is putting up $70 million so that Jewish youths can get a free ten day visit to Israel. I think it is good for Jewish youth to connect with their history and heritage. TV22 showed the Grand Opening of the U.S. Census Office in Springfield, saying they need workers and flashing a number on the screen.

The mail came at 1:30pm, but no books were delivered. I pushed the thermostat up to 65 degrees and made a hamburg and spaghetti casserole. Spent much of the day going over the Frank Wilson papers. I found a delightful receipt for five dollars of hay signed by a Kinley Cox of Bethel in 1929. That's a hick first name you never hear anymore. Unfortunately, the bulk of letters between Grandpa Wilson and his family were last seen twenty years ago in a rucksack in Aunt Maria's attic, but no one can find them now.

My oil tank is 3/8ths full. Chatted with Kathy at Who's Who. She was in New Providence, New Jersey and told me they only got a dusting of snow before it turned to rain. A friendly young woman, she said they will send me my Certificate of Inclusion next week. I also informed her that the message on their answering machine is too informal for Who's Who and she may tell her bosses I said so. I had a nice chat with Kim at the McDuffie School around 11:15. She clarified that the correct term is "Head of School" not Headmaster as in the Union-News headline "MacDuffie installs new Headmaster." Kim said, "The newspaper got it wrong" (her very words). I urged her to have a nice day and she said something cheerful in reply. The current Head is Kathryn P. Gibson.

Not a peep out of Eamon, so I called in order to leave him another encouraging get well message on his tape. However, Eamon suddenly picked up and said he is feeling much better. According to Eamon, Moody's has just upgraded the bond rating of Massachusetts, that's the state's rating, not Springfield's. Eamon said he just got off the phone with Charlie Ryan and they had a long discussion about Mo Turner's stadium article in the Advocate. Charlie said he would alert someone about getting the story more coverage, maybe Bunny Riedel.

January 16, 2000

27 degrees at 10:30am. Gas is $1.31 at Breckwood.

Alan Greenspan says interest rates will be going up soon. Father went to the re-union of his graduating class from the University of Vermont in 1978. Father completed his Real Estate course at WNEC in 1979. Kelley had the green xmas lights on her backyard tree on last night. I like Progresso's Beef Barley Soup.

Heard Mozart's Piano Concerto 14 at 9:30am. We ended up with three inches of fluffy white snow yesterday. My cold hasn't gone away yet, and may have gotten worse from shoveling snow. I've been sick and mostly staying home these past days working on the Wilson papers. I am compiling a wonderful collection of Bethel business letterheads and throwing away the duplicates. Also getting a lot of great old postal stamps off the envelopes.

I did venture out to Woronoco Savings at the Big Y to transfer my certificate with them, which started at $30,000 and has grown to $43,000. I was waited on by a young, friendly Lebanese woman named Magda Colen, who said she just got over a cold she'd been fighting for two weeks. Dined on warmed over fish and chips with canned fruit. The mail bringing me some new books arrived at 11:00am. Gov. Gary Johnson sent me a thank you letter for my writing to him to praise his desire to legalize drugs. I included in my letter a tear sheet from the Valley Advocate on the drug war which was enhanced by my "Wear Orange...." stamp.

January 19, 2000

A real nice day, 13 degrees at 7:45am.

I agree that South Carolina should take down their Confederate flag. It should disappear throughout the South, they were licked and that's it. Years ago I said the human race will die of boredom. On WFCR this morning they said that the Immigration and Naturalization Service is having trouble retaining officers because the work is so boring. If you train an army your have to find a war or the boys will get bored.

I was surprised to hear on WFCR an advertisement for Western New England College. Julia A. Cyr is a branch manager for Woronoco Savings Bank. George F. McGrath was Clerk of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts in 1984. Grandmother and Grandfather Wilson both worked for the Massachusetts School for the Feeble Minded in Waltham, Mass in 1905.

I drove to Louis & Clark to mail my payment to Hillcrest. Then I went to the Eastfield Mall, where I was given a complementary turkey baster. The lady kindly asked, "What do you really want?" I told her the pizza cutter and she grabbed it and handed it to me. I thanked her, then bought some cough syrup at CVS and had burgers at the food court McDonald's.

Then over to Lowe's Hardware Store, which has a hiring sign out front. I politely told the young black woman behind the counter that I filled out an application and never heard from them. She said they had received over 3,700 applications and couldn't respond to all of them. I told her I was told I would hear something and warned her that I can be a troublemmaker when I'm wronged. She called over a stocky guy in jeans who identified himself as the Hiring Supervisor. I told him my complaint and suggested I be given a $5 gift certificate in compensation. He just stared at me without speaking so I turned around and left. 3,700 applications? Unemployment must be high around here!

Paused at Angelo's on the way home, but bought nothing. Bob Rankin called from Northeast Utilities to invite me to a public event, but I told him I have a cold and cannot go. We had a friendly enough chat, but I did ask him to convey to management that I don't approve of destroying meter box seals and they should show more respect for the environment. The news says both lanes on Main Street should be open by the end of the week. The cold wather has caused a pipe to burst in the Civic Center parking garage, resulting in a flood. There was also a story on drug problems in the Longmeadow schools.

Eamon's latest phone editorial thanks "the Valley Advocate's Maureen Turner for smoking out Mayor Albano's lying about junk bonds and siphoning funds to the stadium project." He concludes by condemning the Springfield Newspapers for failing to inform the public and expressed gratitude that "the Valley Advocate is up to the task." At the end of the message, Eamon picked up and told me that his friends at Finestein Leather all have colds. We discussed the black eye WNEC has recived in the matter of David Levinstein and also agreed that Stop&Shop is wrong never to put salad ingedients on it's day old counter. Eamon has discovered that Hartford has 410 police officers and Springfield has 602. There has been three murders in Springfield so far this year, and Eamon's cop friend Spellacy told him that certain sections of the city are "a disaster area" when it comes to crime.

January 21, 2000

Light snow starting at 9:15am.

The quality of life has steadily deteriorated in the last 100 years. Advances in technology have, ironically, often contributed to the deterioration in the quality of life. Less living space per person, less green space and fresh air, less solitude, less personal style (ornament, eccentricity), more noise, congestion, pressure, more fear of bombs, brutal war, violence, more standardization and regimentation, collapse of values and few positive role models.

The Association of College and Universities meets today. A WFCR story said that comic book collection peaked in the mid 90's. The new medium for comics is online. Peter Picknelly was on insisting that he wants more co-operation from the city on development projects he has in mind for Union Station. There was also a story about how Friendly's is losing a lot of money and is selling restaurants to managers who want to run them as franchises. I suspect they had to practically give them away. My Colby acquaintance and pollster Peter Hart was on NBC News this evening interviewing Gary Hart. I haven't seen Hart on TV in years.

Kelly has the green lights on her tree tonight. Mail was here early and included two books from Hamilton and my Who's Who certificate. Didn't go out much. First thing at 8am a woman in a light blue sedan got out and hung the Union-News Extra on my mailbox handle and then drove off. Absurd to be engaged in such labor on such a cold morning. At 9:30am I drove over to Louis & Clark and got the new Valley Advocate. On the way to get salad ingredients at Angelo's, I noticed that the green house next to Tom Devine at 112 Breckwood is for sale by Landry's Longmeadow office. Down to the Big Y I bought fish and chips and things to drink. I ran into Mr. Anzalotti, all bundled up, he took off a glove and we shook hands. He is always an impeccably polite, very fine Italian.

Aunt Maria has the flu. The Frank Wilson papers came from a trunk that had long been stored in Aunt Maria's attic but Mother got it in the 1960's. I called Gary Shepard and left this message with Mary Ann. "We are not friends, but I whole heartedly support your efforts to get Picknelly onboard for Union Station. Best wishes to you, J. Wesley Miller." She was very careful to write down my message exactly.

I called Longmeadow's Landry-Lyons about 112 Breckwood. Roberta said it's a "handy-man special" priced at $59,000. I then called Devine, but his mother said Tom was not in, so I asked her about the house next door and she said it appears to be already sold to somebody in Longmeadow. She said the house "is a mess" and the buyer's daughter intends to fix it up and resell it. Michael J. Day called and asked, "Is this Dr. Reich's office?" I called Eamon but he didn't call back.

January 23, 2000

Chilly but sunny, 17 degrees on the breezeway at noon.

This is the first anniversary of Mother's death. I got a pretty card for the occasion from Mrs. Staniski.

So many books are being written about things that would be better said in an article. You don't need a book when a Reader's Digest type article can say it as well. A survey shows that most high school seniors find their last year to be a bore. I felt that way about my last year of law school. There's been a fire in a 90 year dorm at Heidelberg College. A break in a water main in German Gerena School has caused some flooding. In 1959 I won The Boston Globe Massachusetts Science Fair Award. Margaret Seitelman, Executive Director of American Mensa, accepted me as member in 1978.

I went over items in the drawer of the drop leaf table in the parlor. In going over the Frank Martin Wilson estate, I found some items I recognized as having been typed on the old Smith typewriter that is still around here somewhere. I used to do my school papers at Homer Street and Buckingham using it. Even during the Depression when wages were low, Mother tried to make life better for her father by buying him a stove from Sears & Roebuck in 1932. I remember we had it in storage on Crest Street and it had green and cream colors.

Kelly has had her green lights on every night into the wee hours. It actually looks very nice. For breakfast I had creamed beef on toast with a fruit cocktail. The big sales at the Expo currently featuring electronic stuff, jeans, leather jackets, etc. used to be held at the Civic Center. The mail was not here until after 2pm, included was Hillcrest Park Cemetery Association material and a letter from Mrs. Smith's insurance saying I get $225.

Raymond Macari called looking for Storrowtown. I called Barnes & Noble, who told me they don't have Damn the Torpedoes, so I called Edwards where I was told they would order it for $20. Then I called Aunt Maria's nursing home and got a cooperative Jean. Aunt Maria is doing well and had no visitors today. She knows what is going on pretty much, although she does have periods of confusion. She walks around and goes to eat in the dining room where she seems to like to mingle with others. I asked if she talks about going home and Jean replied, "She does at times, yes."

I called Tom Devine before the news and told him about the Ayn Rand book. I also told Tom that this year's Baystate Objectivist prizewinners had some strange picks and omissions (no York, no Turner). He said he left Turner and Yorke out of his prizewinners because they were mentioned in other categories and have won so often in the past. Tom claimed that Mo Turner was "shocked and repelled" by my Leatherman essay, stating that Turner thought I "would never write anything like that." I asked Tom about Al Giordano and he said Al no longer lives in the United States. He described Al as "always looking for a revolution and he finally found one in southern Mexico." Giordano is also doing a monthly column for the Boston Phoenix.

Eamon called and said he thinks Gary Shepard is a bagman who collects money for Albano. In fact, Eamon believes Albano has several such people. Eamon now has all the information he needs on that poem he likes so much The Guy in the Glass by Peter Dale Winbrow, who was a Florida publisher. It was copyrighted in 1934. Eamon's friend Eddie Berland of Hilltop Motors is the person who alerted him to the poem.

When you get what you want in your struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your father, or mother, or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

He’s the fellow to please – never mind all the rest
For he’s with you, clear to the end
And you’ve passed your most difficult, dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

January 24, 2000

A lovely day, 23 degrees at 8am.

They say Greenspan is going to raise interest rates. Icelanders read more books per capita than any other people in the world. There will be a Wild Game Fest held at the Minnechaug Regional High cafeteria on the 26th. The Savings Bank Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts is located in Woburn, Massachusetts. Jean C. Sessions lives on 29 Porter Drive in Agawam. Old First Church has been located in the Court Square area since the 17th century. The original church was organized in 1637.

Dined on Weight Watchers Swedish Meatballs, also did a load of laundry. Drove out at 9:30am to make some copies, put out the mail at Breckwood and dropped off some stuff for Devine. As I arrived an Agawam Medical Supplies van was just pulling out of the driveway after leaving a bag on the back doorknob for Joyce Devine. I also noticed that the house for sale next door has a double lot with a large garage, a real bargain for less than $60,000. Went to Woronoco with some checks and deposited them with Jeff Mezzetti for a total deposit of $4,898.26. From the bank I went to Burger King for a chicken sandwich with a 99 cent coupon. I swung by A.I.C. and worked on my Blackstone project. On my way back I stopped at Angleo's to get stuff for a salad.

I called TV22 and asked them why they haven't been running stock quotes for the past few weeks. She said they have been having "technical difficulties" and she apologized for any inconvenience. Laurie Saunders does a nice little nature show on WFCR every Monday. I think I once criticized a show by her on TV57 as overly ambitious and perhaps pretentious. However, on WFCR she does a good job. $40,000 in books were destroyed in the flood at German Gerena School, I recall this is the second time this has happened. News says another water main has broken on Harkness Avenue. Alumnus Library at Elms College sent me a thank you note for the five volumes of Irish literature I gave them. Females in Training called and wanted me to join an exercise program. I told her my boyfriend gives me a good workout regularly. Unknown called at 10:25pm.

January 26, 2000

27 degrees at noon.

Hell is the cover story on this week's U.S. News and World Report. If Heaven and Hell did not exist, a lot of people would be out of work. Bill Clinton was interviewed by Jim Lehrer tonight and quoted Benjamin Franklin, "Our critics are our friends because they show us our faults." I collect ephemera, mountains of ephemera, such as local road maps that go back to the 1920's and 30's. Alas, gas stations no longer give away maps. Today I came across cousin Guy Wilson's Guardianship Account for the funds of Mother and Aunt Maria between January 1919 and September 1921.

The Welcome Wagon Club of Wilbraham and Hampden is presenting an evening with Michael White, author of The Blind Side of the Heart in the Brooks Room of the Wilbraham Public Library. Whately Antiquarian Books is having a 30% off sale starting tomorrow. At 2am there was a commercial for Allan K. Reisner, offering legal services for collisions and showed cartoons of chariots, autos and flying saucers colliding. I have had this awful cold for a month now. This afternoon the sun came out and it was a mild winter day. Streets are clear. The price of heating oil has jumped to nearly $2. Last year it was 75 cents per gallon.

The trash was picked up and The Reminder is here. Mailman came down the steet at 10:20am. Would you believe that I got a flyer from Hampden Bank's subsidiary Hampden Insurance? Hampden has no idea of the detailed records I have kept of my interactions with them. At some time I will take my case to the Banking and Insurance Commissions. Hampden's bad service is a big contrast with the lady at AAA who often replies when I ask her something, "I've done it already." That's service! Also got a thoughtful (as usual) letter from Edwin Atlee Garrett III on the problems they're having recruiting members to the Society of Colonial Wars. I wrote back that these are tough times for WASPS and they should refocus on the contributions of Colonial culture.

I have returned to biting my fingernails for the first time since Mother died. Called the Gilded Lily to ask about roses. They said their current price is $50 for a dozen, $60 around Valentine's Day. I'm considering sending Maureen Turner a dozen roses from "The People of Springfield." She certainly deserves them, but I don't like the way she's behaving towards me. Turner is a good little lady, but she could use some loosening up. Eamon called and said he hopes to go to Ireland next year. He spoke with Charlie Ryan's wife Joan and she said Ryan "had a great day in court yesterday" in the stadium trial before Judge Sweeney.

January 27, 2000

Lovely, sunny morning, 24 degrees at 9:20am.

This evening President Clinton gave his final State of the Union Address, the longest in history. Clinton likes to philosophize in long speeches, just like my memos. Clinton claimed credit for economic prosperity, but afterward Senator Trent Lott said it was "like the rooster taking credit for the sunrise." On TV40 Steven Cojocaru, the fashion expert for People Magazine, was on saying, "The more you look like a freak the better." He cited Cher as one of the best dressed people of all time. Senator Bradley was also on, saying that many Americans don't have health insurance.

I set out for the Whately Antique Book Center and the condition of the main roads were fine, bare and free of slicks. I got to Whately around 10:30am. There were cars in all the parking spaces except one in front of the old schoolhouse that houses the Antiquarian Book Center. Once inside, Paul Marshall Murray came over and said he liked the article about me in the Valley Advocate. He said he has a relative that teaches at Harvard and asked if I've ever lectured on legal poetry. Robert Merriam was also there and observed that my beard is new. He said he does all his bookselling on the internet now. Later I saw him leaving with a box of books on collectibles. Barb Smith was running the place. I bought 17 books for $365 and left at 1:55pm.

When I arrived back in Springfield I parked in the Visitor Only spot in the Union-News parking lot. There was a brisk wind which made it feel chilly. Lots of cars were in the Northgate parking lot. Came through the Peter Pan bus terminal and noted that their McDonald's still has bus company memorabilia on the wall. I walked down to Edwards Books but my book had not come in yet. She said it will be in by noon Friday, so I complained that they originally said it would be here by Tuesday. I headed back to the car at 3:01 and noticed that a truck was clearing snow out of the newspaper parking lot. Scott Santaniello was one of the workers and waved. Home by 3:18pm.

Dined on spaghetti and meat sauce, salad and two small potatoes. Today I came upon a receipt from Dr. H.R. French, who was a clockmaker on Washington Street in Boston in 1902. I called Maria at Punderson and ordered 100 gallons of heating oil at $1.70 per gallon. She said, "Hopefully the price will fall." The mail brought my copy of Imprimis. Jeff called looking for Jack claiming "he's expecting me." I answered in a falsetto voice saying, "I'm not expecting you!" He hung up without identifying what firm he was with.

January 29, 2000

16 degrees on the breezeway at 5am.

The history of America is like a tag sale, the people who got here first ripped it off good. Still no stock quotes on TV22. Mass Mutual is being sued by a 44 year old employee for age discrimination. Young Gordon Mackay, spokesman for Pet Zoo Express, misspoke the word "cattle" in his ad. I'm reading Damn the Torpedoes, which is good, but not as good as Bourke's The Intimate History of Killing. Mother lived at 241 North Main Street in 1928. Mother had whooping cough in October of 1930.

Kelly had her green lights on last night. Left here at 9:30am and mailed out letters, including one to Belle-Rita. Then I dropped off some stuff with Eamon, who greeted me at his backdoor with a bag of stuff for me. Eamon is redesigning his business card and decided to use my expression "Multidisciplinary Generalist." He is going to continue to call himself "Esquire." He likes that.

Left Eamon's at 9:44am and returned to the Whately Antiquarian Book Center for a last look at their sale. The place is adequately heated and has a toilet in the basement. The Antiquarian Center claims to have 50 dealers offering 20,000 books. The rarest books are kept in a glass case, where I saw a 1795 copy of a Methodist magazine that once belonged to the Forbes Library in Northampton, selling for $95. I bought Death on the Striped Pig (Boston 1839) which is a splendid little temperance piece. Left Whately at 11:30am and headed to downtown Springfield and parked on Dwight. I headed to Edwards and found the front doors to Baystate West locked, so had to use the Boland Way entrance. Didn't find any posters all, even at the Visitor's Center, which is not open on weekends.

Unknown called while I was out. The mail was here on time and brought a pretty note from Ann Staniski, with a picture of her and her mother standing in front of the Miller Memorial United Methodist Church in Bethel. I called Ann and thanked her for the lovely picture. Today's mail also brought a curious item, a credit card offer for my doll Sweet Pea, first time he's received mail since the Paperback Book Club solicited him. I also got in the mail an SIS bank form mis-delivered to me for Martel Tree and Landscape at 55 Birchland. I wrote on it "Mis-delivered to 5 Birchland" and walked down and stuck it in their back doorway.

January 31, 2000

Sunny and 16 degrees in the morning. Gas is $1.26 across from Angelo's.

On my WNEC Law School diploma I used John W. Miller, not J. Wesley Miller, because it is Father's name as well as my own. Reading Jeffrey Wattles The Golden Rule (1996) and it is a splendid book. I'll loan it to I. Cohn. George O. Stratton was President of the Vermont Mutual Fire Insurance Company in 1931. E.W. Bunce worked for the American Guernsey Cattle Club in Peterborough, New Hampshire in 1935.

My cold has been subsiding each day but it has been a long visit. I drove out and dined on hotcakes without sausage at McDonald's. Then I got a couple of items at Food Mart, where I ran into Marshall Moriarty and his wife, who greeted me with ceremonial joviality. From there I went to Goodwill and the woman behind the counter said she is going skiing this coming Friday. There were not many customers and I bought only a few cheap books. Next I went over to Burger King and bought a chicken sandwich with a coupon, made some copies at Pride and then headed home.

The mail was here on time. Where is my book from Oak Knoll? Called over to Riverside Gardens and got Joe in Unit 4. He said Aunt Maria was discharged Thursday and was sent to Heritage Hall "in order to be closer to the family." So I called Heritage Hall and got Andrea who said my aunt is in Room 8c. She then connected me with Lisa the nurse who said she found my aunt "delightful." I'll bet she says that about everybody. Lisa described Aunt Maria as "alert but very confused, if you asked her where her room was she couldn't tell you."

Aunt Maria was up at 4am to get ready for church but didn't go. They have no religious services there. Shirley has been to visit. I told Lisa to tell Aunt Maria that her loving nephew called and to ask if she would like me to come visit her. Lisa replied, "She doesn't like you, that's perfectly obvious." I said, "Well, maybe I'll be over to visit someday" to which Lisa responded, "Good enough" and that was it.

TV22 says there has been a 2% increase in houses for sale in Western Mass over the past year. None other than John Michon was on saying that now is a good time to buy because "you get a lot of bang for your buck." Now that TV22 is in Chicopee I notice they are slanting their coverage towards Chicopee. The stock listings are finally back. Eamon called and said there is a good article in Harper's Magazine on Bush. He also informed me that John Davis of the U.S. Office of Education left a long message on his tape about absenteeism. Eamon saw the article in the paper about Albano working with the mayor of Hartford so he called Moody's and found out that Hartford has an A-1 bond rating while Springfield remains at near junk bond level.


February 2000

February 1, 2000

27 degrees and sunny in the morning.

As of today, America has had the longest continuous period of economic expansion in history, 107 months reaching back to 1991. Housing sales in the valley are up 7.7% over last year. Today is Primary Day in New Hampshire, with McCain predicted to trounce Bush while Gore should edge out Bradley. WFCR says the Catholic Diocese of Vermont is busing people to Massachusetts to demonstrate against gay marriage. Howard I. Kalodner was the Dean of WNEC Law School in 1981. Mother lived at 356 Belmont Avenue in Springfield in 1926.

I received in the mail today a catalog from Bauman Rare Books. I called Tom Devine and his sister Deb answered, saying he had gone to the Pine Point Library. My, he goes to the library a lot! I saw him recently walking down Boston Road, either on his way to the library or maybe he was going to visit the Twig Painter. I left word with Deb about the prices being asked by Bauman for Ayn Rand books.

Today I dined on a cheese sandwich, hotdogs and veggies. Completed reading Damn the Torpedoes, a good book on what goes on in the military. When I went out for the mail I found a bag from Mrs. Staniski containing Harvard material from Ann and a tin of homemade cookies, popcorn and peanuts. In return I will inscribe one of my books to her.

I called Moriarty at Elms, who said he's preparing for classes. I quickly told him to get a Bauman catalog to see the Bartlett books in it. He thanked me politely. Next I called Riverdale Gardens and asked Debra Kratouil how Aunt Maria is. She replied, "She's doing okay." I asked if Aunt Maria has been discharged and she replied, "I can't tell you that over the phone because of patient privacy." I was then urged to call later when Ann Smidt would be in. So later I called back and the receptionist Mary got me Ms. Smidt, who told me, "I was told not to let out any information regarding her status. This was her request!" Then she banged down the phone in my ear.

This evening on TV22, Jerry Gretzinger said Six Flags will open May 6th (let's see if they send me any advertising). Six Flags has a new 208 foot rollercoaster that will have a speed of 70mph and dip into an underground tunnel. There was also a story about new signs on the expressway pointing to City Stage, Symphony Hall, the Quadrangle and the Civic Center. Eamon called and expressed concern that his interaction with Davis has been all telephonic. In the past when he has contacted the Inspector General he has gotten a letter with a consent form to sign.

Kelly had her green backyard Christmas lights on this evening.

February 3, 2000

Today was a lovely day, 25 degrees at 10:30am. Gas is $1.35 at Breckwood Shell.

The Fed has raised the prime from 5.5% to 5.75%. Senator McCain was on the Leher News Hour and said that young people 18-26 are cynical, alienated and they don't vote. Also in the news, Boston's Big Dig was estimated to cost $5.8 billion in 1991, but the price is now $12.2 billion. Maureen Turner has a fine essay in the Valley Advocate with a picture of Charlie Ryan. There was a commercial on WFCR for Dr. Joseph Brown's Obsessive-Compulsive Treatment Center in Stafford Springs. Aunt Maria should have consulted with him years ago. In Northampton the gay/lesbian bar The Grotto wanted to have nude dancing but were turned down.

F.M. Wilson lived on a dairy farm in Vermont in 1935. Mother had a miserable wage during the Depression, but I found a receipt today showing she still gave a contribution to the Springfield Hospital Campaign fund in 1931. Doubtless Monarch twisted the arms of their employees, but my parents were always generous to charities. Remember George Gopen the lawyer who did an article on college English to which I replied? I looked him up in MLA and he has disappeared. Remember when I was out to Palmer there was an old Western Auto store that I parked in front of and chatted with the manager? Well, a story in the January 23rd paper shows Joseph Adamski going out of business after almost 60 years.

The mail brought a Walmart credit card application with an invitation to the Grand Opening of their new store in South Hadley. I also got a thank you note from St. Mary's of Turners Falls for my "wonderful remembrance of Robert B. McCreech." It was thoughtful of them to write. A polite Kevin Devine called looking for Storrowtown from the number 782-3882. Carol stopped by in her mother's chocolate brown Voyager and I gave her some things for Mrs. Staniski. Carol told me that she hasn't had a cold in four years. She is a friendly soul who was brought up by good people.

I spent part of the day reading newspapers and I am up to about page 250 in Foxx and Kloppenberg's A Companion to American Thought (1995), which, as such reference books go, is quite well done. Virtually no typos, but little attention is paid to the thoughts of freaks. I also read John Marks newsletter from Ann and The Baystate Objectivist's Heroes and Villains of 1999. Went out at 9am and dropped off a bag of reading material with the Cohn's maid. I also dropped off stuff at Eamon's, who was not home and has a very mediocre Valentine Day flag up. There was a long line at Fleet Bank, where I cashed a check with Susette Goncalves, who told me her sister works at the Ring Nursing Home. I was in full uniform, including my chain locked collar and Queerboy Sissypansy dog tag attached to it. I looked quite freaky today, have to keep working at it.

Next I headed out to the Whately Antique Book Shop in Hatfield, where Eugene Povirk was in charge. He told me about how six years ago historian Henry S. Commanger was taken to a nursing home and Amherst College, which had provided him his house, asked his wife to leave so they could let some other faculty member have the house. He had about 5,000 books which his wife offered to Amherst College, but they didn't even come to look at them. Povirk and his partner Barbara E. Smith bought the books and he told me there were many valuable volumes in it, including an annotated copy of Profiles in Courage. Left Hatfield at 12:12pm, dined at the Buffet in West Springfield and was home at 2:11pm. On the way back I stopped by briefly at the AIC library and saw that the Chronicle has not published my letter.

February 5, 2000

27 degrees and overcast at 8:40am.

Have to leave things as they are, live with it.

I never empty the trash without scraping the mud off my boots into it. Had two eggs and toast for breakfast and dined on Stouffer's Lasagna tonight. Bridgeport National Bindery is on Silver Street in Agawam. Mr. Arthur H. Dakin lived in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1932.

I'm reading a catalog from the super expensive furniture dealer that moved into where Hayden-Wayside was. I put a pile of mail in the mailbox and then drove over to Indian Orchard. I had trouble with my garage door, but I cleaned the track and had no more trouble. First, I went to Pride for copies and then to Angelo's for salad. In the Orchard there were a lot of For Rent signs along Main Street. When I got to Tassinari Book Bindery, it was all closed up. I went into the K & D Deli and the lady said the bindery is closed today. The people shopping in there openly stared at my collar, jacket and the rest of my costume.

I proceeded down to the Quadrangle and bought a blue ticket to see the exhibit on Tibet. I found E. Bader and two others in attendance. Heather Haskell was talking about the exhibit and a very polite Chinese lady asked me to take off my chain so it wouldn't distract anyone with its tinkling sound. Naturally I complied. The Tibet exhibit was absolutely wonderful. Then to the Smith where they had a beautiful blue-green Buddha. In the library I saw they have my new book in Rice Hall. They also still have my book on the history of Buckingham Junior High School.

My phone identifier showed a James G. of 84 White Birch Drive called while I was out. The news showed the closing arguments being given in the Northgate Plaza case. Valliere gave the Northgate position, while the City Solicitor tried to hog the camera all he could. This afternoon I found a small puddle of oil around the base of the oil burner, which looks as good as new although it is now 45 years old. I called Punderson and got Trish, who said someone will come by as soon as possible.

The repairman arrived at 7:25pm and left the truck running because he was afraid it might not start, even though it was a Punderson truck! He told me the problem was a little nut that was not tightened as much as it should have been and said it was the fault of the person who was here last time and therefore there was no charge. The repairman was a light skinned black man who looked like he would have been a good football player in his day. He cleaned up diligently and left about 7:45pm.

Eamon called and said his sister was in the house when I came yesterday, she does some chores for him. And in keeping with my ongoing research on nobody getting anything right, yesterday Eamon called Randall's in the afternoon and a young fellow took his order for carrot muffins. This morning he called to find out if they were ready and they said they didn't have them. The lady said the order got garbled and apologized. Eamon told me he chatted with her for a bit and she told him that the Ludlow schools are awful. Eamon and I used to talk regularly for an hour or more, but now our typical call is about fifteen minutes.

February 7, 2000

28 degrees and sunny at 10:32am.

On the ABC News Peter Jennings discussed whether the descendants of American slaves should be given reparations. Yes, but the restitution should be given from the endowments of Southern institutions. Hillary Clinton announced that she is running for the U.S. Senate from New York. Senator Kennedy has checked into the hospital for what sounds like the flu. Heard on WFCR that a UMass gallery has an exhibit of rare Tibetan photographs. Is there a Tibetan PR campaign to develop friends in America in case they need the Marines to turn back a Chinese invasion? There was also a new ad for Hampden Savings Bank on WFCR this morning.

We have a foot of snow around here and it looks like winter. Did a bit of housecleaning. My cold is almost gone, I've had it for over a month. Drove over to the McDonald's on Allen for hotcakes. They are expanding the side walls so the place is something of a mess right now. I mailed James Sappenfield and the Extension application at Breckwood after making copies at Pride. At the Goodwill Patty greeted me enthusiastically, noting that she hasn't seen me lately. They were selling their hardbound books for half price so I got several books very reasonably.

Called Westfield Bank and Erica said their best interest is 6.10%. I called Duggan Jr. High and asked to speak to the librarian. I got Ellen Hayes who said she was not the librarian but was in charge. I told her I just got a book at the Goodwill, A Short History of Espionage (1963) and their property marks are on it and no discard marks, with a card in the pocket indicating it was last signed out Novemeber 3, 1967 to M. Wallace in Rm 213. She snapped back, "I have a class, could you call back later?" I replied that I am a lawyer who charges $200 per hour and that I was merely calling to inform her that when you discard books you should mark them as discarded. Again she snapped, "I am not the librarian!" to which I suggested, "Well, then tell the librarian." "Certainly, good bye!" said she, no thank you, and then banged down the phone in my ear!

So I called Duggan again and Carrie connected me to Mrs. Clement and I told her of my conversation with Ellen Hayes. Mrs. Clement explained that sometimes they put books on a table in the hall to give away. I informed her that without a discard stamp I had a responsibility to check to be sure it was not stolen. She was very supportive and even told me that her maiden name was Miller. She apologized and said she would send me a thank you note for my trouble. Nader called and said he's back from Florida where he just bought a cheap condo 15 minutes from the beach. He said he used Eamon and me as references. I told him I have a cold and the house is a mess, but I will come by before he leaves and give him a book.

Eamon called and he's delighted by Larry McDermott's editorial about all the letters to the editor they got last year, followed by a listing of all the people that sent letters. The editorial sneers at people who send anonymous or fictitious letters and described three, all of which had been sent by Eamon! McDermott didn't realize they were all from the same person because Eamon used a different typewriter with different fonts for each one. One complained about the quality of the free chocolate bar the paper passed out for promotional purposes, in another he called McDermott and David Starr carpetbaggers and in a third he called Larry a lightweight. Eamon laughed as he recalled how he and Jack O'Neil once sent four fake letters opposing the proposed new high school on the site of Kavanaugh Furniture and the paper printed all four!

February 8, 2000

22 degrees and sunny.

Religion is the millstone around the neck of ethics. People clearly see that religion is a lot of nonsense and it makes them think ethics is also.

WFCR Morning Edition is starting a three part series on compulsive gambling. TV40 had a story with Malcolm R. George, formerly of Ludlow Savings, presenting a check for $500 to the John DiNapoli Gold Badge Club. So where is George now? Dined this evening on Banquet Turkey Dinner and tossed salad.

I drove out to Tassinari's in Ludlow this afternoon, second place on the left, a big industrial building that must have been let go for a song by somebody moving out. A couple of cars in the parking lot and a white bindery delivery truck with snow all around it and none underneath. I left Leslie's Spanish-American War atlas-sized book to be rebound in black buckram and Three Trials (1818) to be rebound in standard brown buckram for $35, too much, but he appears to do good work. I also left James D. Haig's Kings Inn Library to be done in Kelly green buckram for $25.

Tassinari has a very large work area with a lot of machinery and at least one other worker. There is a large rack with many rolls of cloth at the very back. Across the front of the building are offices, including Tassinari's corner office with an ornate desk with an incredible mess atop it. Indeed, the entire bindery is messy. The office has a picture of the Pope being presented with a book bound in white leather by a priest. I commented on it and Tassinari said the Pope has a number of samples of his binding that Polish priests have had him do. I told him I'm a little hard of hearing so he spoke louder. There was a bookcase of leather bound Works of Spencer which he said had previously belonged to the President of the University of Hartford. A very nice fellow but his prices are high.

Went by Cat's Paw on the way home and they had a sign in the window, "On Vacation - Be Back Late February." On the corner of Boston Road and Parker, where Circuit City and Auto Zone are now located, there used to be an Edwards. With Walgreens going in across the way where Pier One was and the theater and other new tenants at Eastfield, you could say the mall area is experiencing a renaissance.

Frederick Whitney called while I was out but I did not call him back. Kevin Devine called and I said, "You've called here before, get the number right!" He said, "I'm sorry." Laura called from Colby College looking for money. I could've told her no and hung up, but naturally I gave her an earful. I told her how I offered land once to Colby and they said no so I told them no more gifts from me. She asked if I wanted her to remove my name from their calling list but I said, "Oh no, let them call every year." Laura said she doesn't know what her major will be.

The mail brought a pretty thank you card from Mrs. Staniski for the book I gave her. Enclosed was a picture of Ann and her and two tall grandsons. Also received a note from John Rixon. Reading Herb Goldberg's The Hazards of Being Male. I like it. Also reading Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and it's Quarrels With Science. It rips apart literary studies as bullshit on precisely the same theory I have held, that literature majors are trained in nonsense and judged by their ability to produce nonsense. It rates history highest among the non-sciences, slyly adding as long as the historians are content to gather facts and not fool around with interpretation. My position exactly.

February 9, 2000

Sun glowing through, 25 degrees at 7:15am.

The Sunday paper has an article about people wanting to change the names of Amherst and Turners Falls because they are named after Indian killers. Kelly had her green backyard lights on last night.

A note to Richard Garvey was in one of the books I got at the Goodwill the other day. This suggests that Garvey has given books to the Goodwill, maybe when he cleaned out his office at the newspaper. I'll have to keep my eye open for more. Eamon called and we discussed what mischief we might do to McDermott. Eamon also recalled Bruce Sheffield, who lived on Ardmore Street. He was a salesman of men's clothes at Paramount Clothes for years and later worked for John P. Lynch at the Registrar of Deeds. Paramount Clothes was owned by a Jew named Hugo Roth.

From home I went directly to the Woronoco branch in Big Y, where Magda helped me again. Ms. Cyr was also there. I took out two checks, one for A.G. Edwards to buy some G.E. stock and one for Jordan Luttrell. Then downtown where I parked in the first place right in front of the Church on Salem, which was very messy from not having been plowed. At the SIS center I found the Wall Street Journal in the trash can but with coffee all over the bottom so I left it there. At A.G. Edwards I bought ten shares of General Electric.

Then into Subway, where Shkena is on vacation so a young fellow waited on me. The price of their deli-baloney grinders have gone up from 99 cents to $1.29. Came through Westfield Savings and the place was empty of customers except for me. At Antiques on Boland Way a lot of their stuff is reproductions, probably from estate liquidations. Miller Framing has J. Gnatek art priced at $50 and higher. I walked down to the newspaper to get a copy of Sunday's paper for McDermott's column. They had none behind the counter, so they called upstairs to circulation and a lady brought one down.

From there I went to the Chamber Channels After Five at the Museum of Fine Arts. It was a big disappointment. I arrived about 5:15pm in my full orange uniform with boots, chain and collar and scalped head. I had my raspberry glasses on and a copy of my new book to show to people. A black man came up and told me he loved my outfit, so I gave him my card. A Chamber of Commerce secretary collected tickets in the middle of the MFA lobby. At a side table was some MFA literature.

In the past these Chamber of Commerce events have had various kinds of good, such as meatballs, veggies and fruit platters, hotdogs and chicken wings. This time there was essentially no food, just a cash bar at the far end. It was a real let down, but perhaps the perspective of the MFA is that you got into the museum for free, so what else do you expect? Several businesses had tables set up, and I flattered Longmeadow Florists by telling them that now that Hall Galleries is gone it's nice that there is still a place to get nice things. The PVTA was passing out 25th Anniversary chocolate coins. Wolf & Company had freebies but I didn't take any.

I'd say there was about 200 people there, but I saw very few going upstairs to see the wonderful Tibetan exhibit. Petluck and his female companion was there, but he said all the noise overwhelms his hearing aid, so I just shouted that I'll see him at the Friendly's annual stockholder's meeting. I chatted with R. Denver and showed him my book. I also talked with Marlene M. Ryan, who used to be a legal assistant but is now in accounting. I approached Alan R. Goodhind, who asked if I ride a motorcycle. I hadn't realized he was involved with Mass Mutual, so I promised to send him information about Father. I left the MFA about 6:15pm and didn't take note of the time that I got back. Former State Rep. Fred Whitney had called while I was out.

February 12, 2000

Sunny and 47 degrees at 2:15am.

Dined on chicken, salad, fruit and bread. Did some housekeeping in the morning. WFCR says the University of Vermont is being sued over an athletic hazing incident. Also, Burlington's City Council has rejected a Shaw's chain supermarket. The TV40 evening news mentioned a December "water cooler poisoning incident at WNEC" which police are investigating but not close to solving. Whatever happened has been pretty well hushed up.

I am mostly over my cold after almost two months. Called Lowe's and their ribbon cutting is tomorrow at 8am. Mother used to have a two wicker chairs from Adaskin's in her bedroom on Crest Street. She brought them to Birchland, but used only one and it wore out long ago. The twin to it now sits in the basement, like new because we never used it. There is a box of papers sitting on the seat, which I glanced through and found this wonderful letterhead from a long vanished North End business Mark Aitken Florist and Decorator dated December 11, 1903:

Made copies at Pride and then mailed letters to Goodhind, Connie Wilson, Marleen at Morrissey, check to Luttrell, all with my Wear Orange stamp. I wrote to Garrett today but didn't mail it. Pride had the new Valley Advocate, but when I got to Louis & Clark they had none. Got veggies at Angelo's, after which I swung by the O'Sullivan place and got a bag of reading material from little Eamon himself. Eamon has told me in the past that as a baby he was in the Isolation Hospital for a month with scarlet fever. They were afraid he would die, but it only stunted his growth. His older brother Gerald died of it at the age of five.

As we chatted, Eamon wondered whether the MFA has a sprinkler system, as fires go through open spaces in a flash. This started us talking about the old Colony Club fire. Eamon recalled how at the time he was a rental agent for Union Court Apartments, where Bill Putnam's mother moved from Longhill Street to an apartment on the top floor, Maple Street side. The fire started around 8 or 9pm and roared right through the Colony Club.

From there I went to Savers, where I bought three books, Padiman's Ex Libris (very good) Hefley's Textbooks on Trial and Turner's book on Northern Ireland. Then to Stop&Shop for roasted chicken. Stopped on the way back at Forest Park Antiques but nothing good. Fancy That has been cleared out for inventory. The mail brought a copy of Investor's Business Daily that was addressed to Carol Dine, 22 Jeffrey Road. Still no thank you note from the lady at Duggan.

Fred Whitney called while I was out. Unknown called late at night, but hung up before I could answer.

February 13, 2000

At 2:49am I sang Happy Birthday over three octaves to Eamon's answering machine. Peanuts creator Charles Schultz has died of colon cancer. Today I dined on salad and a chicken pot pie.

I went this morning to the not-so Grand Opening of Lowe's Hardware. There were around 70 people present. It was chilly, although 28 degrees isn't all that chilly. Many sat in their cars until it was time to go in. The mayor didn't show up and there was no actual ribbon to be cut. There were a few balloons inside the door and everybody got a free yardstick. It's an immense store with lower prices than Home Depot. It will certainly kill the neighborhood hardware stores just as the Eastfield Mall killed downtown.

Lowe's has office furniture and appliances which Home Depot does not carry. They had good buys on steel doors and sinks, faucets and stained glass rooster lamps like Eamon's. Some employees looked at me suspiciously, perhaps because I was wearing my all white plastic Dupont coverall with purple pants, biker jacket and collar. There were anti-shoplifting posters around about a "War on Shrink." From there I went to the Allen Street McDonald's and had hotcakes without sausage and read today's paper.

Thence to services at Trinity Church, which was well filled. The Goads are doing a good job of rebuilding the church. I notice that they always print his sermons, but I have never seen any of hers printed. I had no problem hearing. Nobody said anything about my outfit and everybody was friendly, purple pants and all. Many young people in the congregation were casually dressed.

When I got home I called Lowe's and spoke to Brian the night manager. I told him I had applied for a job with them, but never heard anything back. I said, "You have a war on shrinkage in progress, but you might also have a war with a disgruntled person you said you would get back to but did not!" Then I hung up in his ear!

February 14, 2000

Still reading in my book of American ideas. The Blair Witch Project is up for a Golden Raspberry Award because it was "overly hyped." I agree. On TV57 someone said, "Great souls have small use for small morals." Jim Lindblad of 1069 Parker Street advertises with the motto, "Is Money Low? Book a Show!"

Dirt Rag Magazine came in the mail with the cover ripped savagely, a third of it gone completely. Also received a Grassroots Lawn Care flyer. At 12:15pm the phone rang and it was Storrowtown Village, with a very cooperative lady named Irene wanting to make reservations for 65 people for an event following a wedding. I told her she had the wrong number and she told me that Betty at Storrowtown had told her she would connect her to somebody who could help and "she just clicked it over to your phone."

So we parted and I dialed Storrowtown and got Betty and told her what happened. She replied, "I'm going to transfer you to our boss who is the Director of Storrowtown Village." I got Denis Picard and we had a pleasant chat. I made it clear that I have to put up with wrong numbers from Storrowtown all the time, but this was the first time I ever got a wrong number from Storrowtown itself! At the end I told him that their mistake is okay this time, but if it happens again I will charge them with harassment. A very professional call.

Eamon called and had a lot to say. Charlie and Joan Ryan sent him a birthday card. Eamon is annoyed by all the church related solicitations he gets because his mother often gave to religious organizations. He says he throws them in the trash unopened. Eamon also told me about his neighbor who works for the city and leaves at 7am, comes home a few hours later and doesn't leave until he goes back to work to check out at three o'clock. Eamon then recalled how he sent letters to Sen. Jesse Helms, who was blocking Bill Weld's ambassadorial appointment, telling Helms that Weld is a phony. Eamon sent a few letters to Paul Cellucci on various topics, but none were ever answered.

Eamon then told me about a pastor at Sacred Heart named Edward M. Kennedy, whose dad was rich from railroad money and people complained because Rev. Kennedy owned land on Lake Congamond in Southwick and had valuable Waterford collectibles. The church forced him to sell the land and collectibles because it looked bad to have a rich priest. Eamon said he keeps hearing that a group of gay priests meet weekly at The Fort downtown on Friday afternoons around 2pm.

Next Eamon complained about the article in the paper saying that Chief Meara is hiring seven public information officers. Eamon believes she should handle the info herself. His friend Dept. Spellacy is retiring at the end of March and he doesn't want a party or a plaque. "They can put the plaque where the monkey put the plum!" he told Eamon. Spellacy's friend Fitchett is putting on a private party to honor Spellacy on May 27th, to which Eamon has been invited to sit at the head table. Spellacy is still mad about how he topped the written exams but was denied the job of Chief by the Assessment Evaluation people who are unacquainted with real life police work. Spellacy claims they wanted a woman police chief and nobody else had a chance.

We talked a bit about a 60 Minutes story that said 40% of cops beat their wives. Eamon asked Spellacy about that once but he told Eamon, "There's some abusers but I won't get into details." Eamon recalled how in 1960 he urged Chief Raymond Gallagher to give new hires a psychological exam. Gallagher told Eamon he did not approve of requiring it. I told Eamon about my neighbor Edward R. Gallagher at 1480 Wilbraham Road. Eamon claimed that Mike Albano once told him, "The Springfield police take care of their own when it comes to domestic violence."

February 17, 2000

Sunny and 33 degrees at 8am.

The United States is spending more on prisons than on universities. The female General Manager of City Stage was on the news talking about integrating the arts with education, as suggested by the new Council that David Starr is forming. There was also a story on a big residential development near Mt. Holyoke. Naturally, I opposes that. Main Street from Court Square to Boland Way will be closed tomorrow for repairs to the water main that broke. A job that should have taken hours has taken weeks!

Serv-U, whose owner Steve Rosencrantz used to say on his TV ads, "Where have you seen that lately?" is closing their stores in Springfield and Westfield. Their Northampton and Enfield stores will remain open. It's too bad to see local businesses having a rough time, less than a week of Lowe's was enough for Serv-U.

We got an inch of snow last night but it melted off by noon. I was up early today reading newspapers. Still reading in American Ideas. Had bacon and egges fro breakfast, dined this evening on chicken and potatoes. I drove out around 2 o'clock, first leaving the misdelivered letter at 22 Jeffrey, then left a bag of material with Mrs. Cohn, who was seated at her kitchen table. I put out the mail at Louis & Clark, then crossed the street to Dunkin Donuts, but they were all out of jelly donuts.

Going down Breckwood Boulevard I honked at Tom Devine, who was walking towards WNEC, but he didn't respond. I stopped at the Pine Point Library and got some Teacher Excellence Award nomination forms and signed my name in their big, gold Millennium book, writing that people should call Eamon's number. The thin, male librarian told me that the book is of acid-free paper, but I wonder. It's not bond and looks like plain paper to me.

From there I took a bag of stuff to Mrs. Staniski, who was waiting for her mailman. She said Ann is taking her to Arizona to visit her cousin. Then I made a deposit at Ludlow Bank and complained about the layout of their bank statement. Stopped at the Evangelical Covenant Church and had a chat with Sharon in the office. I gave her my card and told her I am still waiting for a thank you letter for the pictures I gave them. Also stopped at the AIC Library and my letter has still not been published in the Chronicle.

Priceline sent me a credit card made out to Joseph Miller, which is unusual. I won't be using it, but will keep it because I collect cards. Fred Whitney called while I was out. I called Saks Fifth Avenue and told them they should more precisely label their items for sale, as what they call a bowl I would call a vase. I called Duggan school and Carrie gave me Althea Clement's voice mail. I politely reminded her of the thank you note she was going to send me but did not. On the news, Charlie Ryan is supporting Republican John McCain for president. McCain is getting a lot of endorsements around here from Democrats.

February 19, 2000

Snowing and 27 degrees in the morning.

McCain has conceded to Bush in South Carolina where bush got 53% and McCaine 42%. WFCR this morning said that Florida is dropping race and gender preferences for university admissions and state contractors as "a step towards ending affirmative action." The stock market took a tumble. Dined on broccoli, Weight Watcher's Salsbury Steak and Macaroni Dinner with fruit and orange juice.

I am almost better from my cold. Tried to repair my copy of Blewitt, which is well thumbed having been bound in the 1800's. Finished Fox and Kloppenberg's book on American thought and then wrote them a nice letter telling them it is a fabulous book. At 9:50am I drove out as the regular mailman was going down the street early, usually he delivers around 1:30pm. It really only takes one hour to deliver this route but he often makes it last three hours or more. Made copies at CopyCat and then crossed the street where they still had no jelly donuts, telling me they always sell out early. I bought a dozen donuts with a coupon. Then I got gas at the Cumberland Farms by OLSH, which is five cents cheaper than elsewhere.

I got my shipment from Timothy Hawley today. I called the Evangelical Covenant Church and got Aggie who told me Mrs. Carlson wasn't in. Also called Baypath and told Claire about the upcoming conference entitled "The Thatcher Years." Next I called the PVTA about their failure to hyphenate "twenty-five" on the cover of their flyer. Tina the receptionist told me that Michelle Goldberg is in charge of their brochures, but that particular one was made by a new employee named Tammy Poulos, who doesn't come in until noon. I told her to tell Tammy about the error, but Tina hung up without thanking me for my communication.

Called Tom Devine who is very hoarse with a cold he came down with on Monday. I told him I saw him walking the other day and asked if he has a driver's license. He said yes, but since he doesn't have a car he doesn't use it very often. Tom told me that the Twig Painter received the materials I sent him on copyrighting his paintings. I asked Tom if he is still writing essays for the local GOP newsletter and he replied yes, one will be coming out in a few days. Devine wonders whether Charlie Ryan has left the Democratic party completely or is only going Republican to back McCain.

At one point I urged Tom to write a letter to the Union-News praising Eamon. Tom said he has already had one letter to the editor published recently and he was surprised McDermott didn't censor it. I asked Tom if he's still releasing episodes of The Ogulewicz Chronicles and he said yes, offering to mail them to me. I told him to save his pennies and I'll come by sometime and pick them up. I used to get the Chronicles at Louis & Clark, but haven't seen any lately. Tom said that Fred Whitney told him he has been trying to reach me to work the primary. I didn't tell Tom how I've been purposely dodging Whitney's calls. In fact, Whitney called today but I didn't pick up. I haven't heard from Eamon for a couple of days.

February 20, 2000

Overcast and 34 degrees at 8:45am.

I called Eamon and told him I'd be by to drop off some stuff. I wore black slacks, timber boots and my notorious purple pants, which I have worn several times with no trouble. Left at 9:20am and made copies at Pride in the Acres. Then to Eamon's, who came to the door and said he was watching TV. He gave me a bag that included stuff he got from Don at the Mass Department of Education. He also gave me a copy of a letter he once received from Walter Cronkite agreeing with Eamon that Pat Robertson is a stinker.

From there I headed to the Exposition grounds for the Camping Show. After paying to enter, they stamped PVC in big blue letters on your hand. I have no desire for a camper, but Father wanted one, a Winnebago, but Mother wouldn't go along. However, they did go to Florida and Nova Scotia, while I stayed behind and watched the house. The campers were selling for ridiculous prices, one the size of a Peter Pan bus was selling for $149,000. The campers that fit on a truck were cuter and more realistic. There were a lot of booths offering campsite rentals.

I got a nice picture of a moose from one campsite renter, The Moose Hillock Campground in Warren, New Hampshire. Years ago in Madison I had a couple of opportunities to purchase antique moose paintings that I now regret having passed up. At the Girl Scout booth I asked how much profit they make on a $3 box of Girl Scout cookies. The lady said about half the cost is profit, although if you buy from a Girl Scout she gets a commission. I replied that as a Cub Scout I sold 36 jars of Christmas candy, more than anyone else in my troop, and got no commission at all. The girl replied, "Times have changed!"

I picked up a handful of road maps, including the latest one of Massachusetts. Markham Meadows Campgrounds in Connecticut passed out wooden nickles good for $5 off. The most interesting item was a genuine 1931 covered wagon camper with green trim, a tiny thing, but quite sensible with bunks in back and a gas stove on the side. It was part of the display booth of Lake Schroom Valley Resort in Warrensburg, New York. They were passing out postcards showing it being displayed at the 1932 Olympics.

From there I got burgers and fries at the McDonald's up the road and then got some books at both Goodwill stores (Sumner Avenue and Sixteen Acres). The lady behind the counter at Sumner Avenue said, "Hello stranger, haven't seen you in here for a long time." Was she flirting with me? Anyway, I had a friendly chat with her. Got home a little after 3pm. I have not seen a newsletter from Friends of the Library lately. I did receive an invitation to a $125 fundraiser for Mayor Albano. I got my first 2000 penny today and I'm letting Sweet Pea and Honey Pot fight over it.

February 22, 2000

Lovely day, 31 degrees at 6:45am. Gas is $1.33 at Cumberland Farms.

President's Day. The memorial service for Peanuts' Charles Schultz is today. Property taxes are rising in Vermont. No more in the news about about the flooding at the German Gerena Elementary School and the $40,000 worth of books destroyed. Apparently the incident has been hushed up. A Wesley Stevens who tutors child actors was on WFCR today. Tony's Pizza appears to have less and less toppings, especially pepperoni.

Typing my diary this morning and cooking a pumpkin pie. After that I wrote a memo to Gary Shepard at the PVTA. I also wrote a letter to Dean in Bethel about doing a postcard of the Lympus Church and mentioned my new Waller book. I looked over the books I got at the Goodwill the other day. I especially like The President and Fundraising by James L. Fisher and Gary H. Quehl (1997). It confirms many of my suspicions about campaign fundraising.

I have five plants that I water once per week. Four of them are on the kitchen table so they get better light. There is still ten inches to a foot of snow on the ground. Drove out at 9:10am and bought the paper for a story about an increase in the number of people in Springfield who are applying for tax rebates. I also made copies, then dropped off a few things for Devine. Next I got some veggies at Angelo's and from there I got groceries at Stop&Shop.

Crossing the street, I put out the mail at the Eastfield Mall Post Office. Then I had lunch in the food court consisting of a gyro and fries for $5.04. Tasted fine with beef but I would have preferred lamb. Coming home, I saw a car with New York plates outside the Penniman's and a tall kid walking toward the door with Mrs. Penniman. I stopped and she invited me in. Mr. Penniman was sitting in a wheelchair next to the bed in the front corner bedroom and I greeted him. I think it's nice that he's home from the nursing home. I hope Aunt Maria will also be able to come home. We chatted a bit and I left.

Eamon called and told me how he sold fruitcakes as a Cub Scout. He got an invite to Albano's expensive fundraiser and told me he gave it to "The Deputy" meaning Spellacy. M.M. Keenan rang wanting the Foster House (the restaurant up in Westfield Mother and Aunt Maria sometimes went to). She didn't apologize for dialing the wrong number. Colleen the receptionist at Moriarty and Connor confirmed to me that Marshall is the Chairman of the Springfield Republican Party. Unknown called, but I did not pick up.

February 24, 2000

Sun coming out at 7:45am, 33 degrees.

There was a big story this morning on WFCR about how the University of Vermont has a problem involving hazing by the hockey team. Someone blew the whistle and a lawsuit was filed. University President Thomas Gustafson has set up a commission to investigate. Somebody on WFCR also said that George W. Bush "is in the place he's in due to heredity, he's not one of the brightest talents around." Socrates Babacas' BCL Associates is located at 224 Birchland Avenue.

Nonsense pays better than commonsense, so most of what is published is nonsense. Kingsley Birge at Colby spoke of there being two kinds of scholars, those who published and those who read. I don't think Birge as Chairman of the Sociology Department published much. Why don't schools ever ask their graduates what they think was wrong with their education? Punishment for problems should come out of the hide of the educators, not the students.

I hadn't noticed this is a leap year! Cooked up some cauliflower and spent time leafing through my new books. I often take a nap in the afternoon and then work until late in the evening. Brenda Garton got it wrong on the news by saying that Lowe's is located in the old Lechmere building. Lowe's demolished Lechmere and built from scratch. Also in the news, Old Navy opened at the Eastfield Mall today.

Called Jeff the Framer to discuss re-backing some of my posters and paintings. His assistant answered and instantly recognized my voice. What is it about my voice that everyone remembers? A nice girl called from Arthur Murray Dance Studio offering me some lessons. Since she was nice, I thanked her for calling but told her to take my name off their list and don't call again! Called Evangelical Covenant Church and Sharon said, "Mrs. Carlson and Angie are not here now." I asked who is the Chairman of the Board and she said John Larson is the Chair of the Building Committee. I asked who the Minister reports to and she said Royce Layman, who is a teacher in Ludlow.

I called Duggan looking for Mrs. Clement but Terry said everyone is on vacation until next week. Called the library and asked for Guy Mclain and they connected me with Art and Music, where Linda said she didn't know where he was. I left word about the Gutenberg article and said Guy doesn't have to call me back. Eamon called and told me he has mailed two letters to the paper using fake names. Eamon also said he would never marry a young wife because they are only looking to inherit your estate. Eamon and I heard two clicks on the phone while we were talking.

Shepard from the PVTA called, but I didn't answer. I called ex-rep Fred Whitney and he picked up promptly. Boy, was he cheerful when he learned it was me. I politely said that Tom Devine had told me that he was trying to get in touch with me. I also mentioned how last fall I asked him to give me a recommendation and he gave me various excuses for not getting around to it. I told him to not mention my name to anyone, including Tom Devine or Marshall Moriarty, and I promised not to talk about him to others. I said, "Good day, Sir," and hung up. Whitney immediately called back, but he let it ring only three times before hanging up. My relationship with Whitney has been one-sided - I put in more than I get out. It was I who introduced Whitney to Devine, the Powells and ARISE. I also took him a good deal of literature, yet, no recommendation.

Unknown rang six times.

February 25, 2000

54 degrees at 4:35pm.

Up at 3am, the light was on over in Kelly's kitchen. Dined today on juice, fruit, toast, bacon and eggs and a can of Progresso Minestrone Soup. Finished reading Snodgrass' Encyclopedia of Utopian Literature. It taught me some things, but overall lightweight, as the works cited are often secondary rather than seminal works. It's a book by a diligent high school teacher type.

The mail finally came today at 2:05pm. Drove out and left a big bag of magazines with a smiling and very pleasant Mr. Cohn. I see that Durham Caldwell has a Bradley for President sign in front of his house. I then went to Louis & Clark, where I bought postcards and made copies. I ran into Socrates Babacas, who is always chasing a deal but never making one. I went to Tom Devine's and dropped off a copy of the review of Ayn Rand's Anthem in Utopia. His driveway is unpaved and was quite icy. Tom came to the backdoor looking like he just woke up and was wearing nothing but tight jeans. Finally, I headed to the Goodwill where I bought Norwich's British Heritage, an absolutely beautiful book.

Called Heritage Hall about Aunt Maria. Debbie got me Mary Ellen, the nurse in charge, and she was most helpful. She told me Aunt Maria had two ladies visiting yesterday and went out today for a follow-up visit with Dr. Titus at Mercy Hospital. To have the information so concisely delivered was more than I could have hoped for. Chatted with Eamon and told him about the guy at Jeff's recognizing my voice. I recalled how when I was a little kid at Homer Street I heard my voice on a tape recorder and thought that my voice didn't sound anything like my voice sounded to me. Eamon said he thinks I have "a homosexual voice."

I told Eamon about running into Socco Babacas and Eamon said he believes Babacas is suffering from mental illness. Eamon also admitted he has lied on job applications, "Nobody checks them, I know how it's done." I then told Eamon about the Lesbian Wars book I am reading. Eamon recalled how he was once chatting with a lesbian in a downtown bar (he admitted it was when he should have been working) and her butch came along and started accusing Eamon of trying to steal her lover and soon it turned into a shouting match. Eventually Eamon "hit the bitch" and knocked her to the ground. Eamon claimed it was necessary in order to defend himself.

February 26, 2000

45 degrees at 7:45am, rainy day.

The Dow took a dive to below 10,000. Shares of General Electric have fallen by $10 since I bought it, but I think it will revive. Tom Brokow had a Fleecing of America feature on the Big Dig in Boston. With gas prices up, I have curtailed my driving. I have also curtailed my use of oil here in the house. I'm a real slob of a typist, usually done with my notes strewn all around, it is a wonder that so much gets written down.

Talked with Eamon in the early afternoon. He said he renewed his subscription to the Springfield Newspapers for 13 weeks at a third off by telling them he is a retired person living on a fixed income. Eamon told me that over the years he has acquired teaching certificates in History, Social Studies, English and Business. Eamon also intimated that "higher ups" in the Police Department told him that Brian Lees is a homosexual. Eamon says the police look the other way when officers misbehave because of drunkenness. He then described Mayor Albano as someone who "talks in riddles and out of both sides of his mouth."

A lot of dirty snow around. Dined on fish and chips from Big Y. I predicted to Eamon yesterday that a decision on the stadium/Northgate would be coming on Friday and indeed it came late today. ALBANO LOST! We the People have won, thanks to Charlie Ryan. I first heard the decision handed down by Judge Constance Sweeney in Hampden Superior Court on the TV22 News at Five. I then switched to TV40 to see what they were saying but they were commenting on the anniversary of the Jahn Foundry explosion of exactly one year ago. They spent a lot of time bragging about how they had news of the blast on the air first, completely oblivious to how they were missing the most important story of this year!

Albano was unavailable for comment as he was "attending to family business." Jim Coppola of the Union Market was interviewed. Jennifer McCarthy of the liquor store was on, and so was Bob and Karen Powell. Karen thanked Ryan and Professor Zimbalist, but made no mention of the Valley Advocate, a serious omission. Jim Polito interviewed Ryan, who said he was surprised by the length of the Judge's decision. TV22 gave generous coverage to the Northgate story, but TV40 droned on about the Jahn explosion for about an hour. I called TV40 twice to complain, the first time she brushed me off with a sassy tone, so I called back and asked, "Is this the History Channel?" She slammed down the phone.

February 27, 2000

Overcast and 43 degrees at 1pm.

Captain Underpants, an irreverent kid's book series, have sold over 3 million copies. The motto of the John Harvard Society is "Generosity in the Spirit of John Howard." Todd Crosset, Professor of Sports Management at UMass, will be giving a lecture on Sexuality in Sports Organizations: Gender Segregation and Issues Around Sexuality at Radcliffe on March 14th. Razzles down the North End is closing. My telephone bill went up ten cents, the phone company is constantly nickle and diming the public.

Did a load of wash. Karen Powell called and invited me to a party today to celebrate the stadium decision. Went and had hotcakes without sausage at the Boston Road McDonald's. Before I left I called Albano at 788-4461 and left a message that there's a gathering about the stadium (not saying whether pro or con) at the Powell's on Mohawk Drive this afternoon. I also called Michaelann Bewsee and Marshall Moriarty. I called Belle-Rita Novak but she said she couldn't go because she was babysitting. Belle-Rita also told me that one of her best friends went through school with Mike Albano and she said he had a reputation as a bully.

From McDonald's I went to the Open House at 1288 Parker Street. The basement was a mess but the rest of the house is nice. Out back there is some woods and I asked if any of the land comes with the house, but surprisingly the saleslady didn't know. About 2:15pm I arrived at the Powell's Northgate Victory Party and was the third car to arrive. By the time I left there were 14 cars parked around the house. The sun never came out but the temperature was in the 50's.

The party was inside with the dogs in the backyard. The Powells have a nice house with a fireplace. Their living room has a copy of the Constitution hanging on the wall. They have an office with a computer, copying machine and fax. The kitchen and dining area was crowded with guests. First thing Karen asked me to sign a nomination form to get Pat Buchanan on the presidential primary ballot, which I did to be accommodating. Bob Powell was passing out copies of the court decision. A man named James Wilson showed me a reply he received from Mayor Albano to a suggestion Wilson made to turn the Little Statehouse into a Senior Center. I told him that Albano never responds to anything I send him. Wilson also said he doubts the Technical High School building can be saved because the roof is badly damaged.

The owner's of Northgate Discount Liquors brought food, rolls of various kinds, a good variety of cheeses and cold cuts with two types of salad, potato and macaroni. Marshall and his wife were there. He seemed a bit distant but did tell me he is a 1971 graduate of Amherst College. I made no mention of my break with Fred Whitney, but we talked about a Sixteen Acres House Tour. Several people noted that Tom Devine was not there. Bob Powell showed me the many certificates and awards he has received for target shooting, one was from Smith & Wesson. He said he has a competition coming up next week. Carol Lewis-Caulton arrived late, no one came from the Valley Advocate although Karen said she had alerted Mo Turner. When I left, I photographed each of the 14 vehicles present. Home at 3:35pm.

February 28, 2000

48 degrees at 7:30am.

Congressman Neal is giving a talk tonight on Ireland at Mt. Holyoke. Orangemen should attend but won't. TV22 news tonight described the "serious political fallout for Mayor Albano" over the stadium decision. Albano says he still wants to build the stadium, but without taxpayer dollars. Peter Picknelly was also on, saying that Albano was "totally genuine in his desire to bring baseball to Springfield and I praise him for that." Picknelly said he thinks that a proposal to put a stadium in the South End is too expensive.

I wrote two consumer complaint letters today, one to Taste Maker's Ground Black Pepper for their brittle plastic caps and the other to Progresso for the string bean stem I found in their minestrone soup. Next I called the Evangelical Covenant and spoke with Barbara Roberts who said Sharon is gone for a week on vacation. Called Mrs. Penniman, who told me her husband has been home since before Christmas and although the burden of his care is great she takes it "a day at a time." Overall she said "it's a terrible situation to be in," especially since his health collapsed "just when he was getting ready to enjoy retirement." I invited her to call me for help anytime and she politely asked how I have been.

D. L. Jameson called looking for Storrowtown. Called East Longmeadow Library and Joanna told me that the book I'm looking for on lying is not in their database. I called the City Library and Ed Lonergan said he will check to see whether they have the book at UMass. Ed did tell tell me that they have the set on English and Welsh antiquities in Rice Hall. I also inquired with Sister Mary Gallager in rare books at Elms.

Called Mrs. Staniski, who has had a cold for the past three days but it is going away. I then called Karen Powell and asked her when it was that she first heard of Judge Sweeney's decision. She said she got a phone call from Andy Cohen and then Karen immediately called her husband Bob at work. Charlie Ryan called her about an hour later, saying the media had called and asked him to come down to Northgate to be interviewed and Ryan urged her and Bob to do the same. When they arrived at 5:15pm she and Bob were interviewed immediately while a crowd of reporters also surrounded Ryan.

Next I called Duggan, where I got Karen who connected me with Ms. Clement who said she gave my name and number to the Principal Thomas Keating. Ironically, Keating was on the evening news tonight in a story about 40 windows that were broken over the weekend at Duggan which will cost over $6,000 to repair. Eamon called and said his phone editorial on Northgate got over 50 calls today. Eamon is unhappy with the interest his money is making at Union Federal and is considering switching to Westfield.

I offered to give Eamon the Valley Advocate's number, but he said he already left his comments on the stadium decision on Maureen Turner's voicemail at 247-5182 Ext. 223. We both mocked TV40 for its poor coverage of the decision and their bragging about their coverage of the foundry explosion. He said their lack of coverage shows that their motto, "Coverage You Can Count On" is a joke. Eamon says he doesn't like Governor Cellucci, whom he heard had trouble with the mob in years past over money he lost at the ponies. Eamon feels just as Cellucci couldn't handle his own finances, he is now having trouble with the Commonwealth's finances.

February 29, 2000

Sunny and 39 degrees at 7am.

Leap Year, Sadie Hawkins Day. Zinnias are my favorite garden flowers because they come in so many different colors, sizes and shapes.

My copy of The Pantheon came today from Jordan Luttrell by UPS. It included a card in Luttrell's sloppy handwriting, which I am saving as a relic from the antiquarian book trade. Out at 9:20am to Hampden Savings where I tried to open an account with $15 cash. The short, black lady teller told me I needed at least $50. She asked me my name, but I said since I can't open an account she didn't need it.

The insurance lady was there at her desk, so I walked over and sat down. I asked her whether their motor club gives away free road maps, which are eventually marketable as ephemera, but she didn't know. She told me about their program and I told her it sounds like AAA, but more expensive. I admitted I already belong to AAA and then told her how Mary Irvine is so helpful that whenever I ask her to do things she often replies, "I already did it." I explained how I could never betray her loyalty by joining a competing motor club. (Ironically, later in the day I saw Mary Irvine pushing a cart in Food Mart.) Anyway, I never told her my name.

From there I went to Big Y and withdrew $200 from Woronoco and paid my credit card. Then to the Breckwood Shops where I put out my mail and made copies. The Daily Hampshire Gazette had a remarkable insert from an undertaker with all the prices on it, which I found in a trash can at Louis & Clark. Then I went back to Hampden to continue my adventure. I walked in and waved $50 at the sweet, black teller and announced I had enough for a bank account. She asked me to step into the Manager's Office, also a black woman. This manager lady curtly said, "We're not opening an account for you" and then added if I have any questions to call Tom Burton. In other words, get lost! I replied that "most banks want to keep their old friends, but not Hampden!" I departed noting that the time was 11:10am. I also noted that the clock in the bank was off by seven minutes. Once again, Hampden Bank has wasted my time.

I then dined on a Subway sandwich at Five Town Mall. The price there is 99 cents, but downtown the price has gone up to $1.29. While there, I ran into Joseph J. Caputo Jr. who lives in the yellow house at 205 Birchland. He told me he bought his lot on our street from a priest at Holy Cross. Birchland is a street of custom cottages, not big houses but special little houses. He bought his house in 1955 and is an electrician by trade. We congratulated ourselves on the People's victory on Northgate. Caputo complained that Albano "never held a private sector job" and is "just like his father who ran the garment worker's union." He said Albano tries to "push people around" and that the mayor after Albano will have a big mess to clean up.

Balise of Wilbraham called and it was Richard Stred saying he "heard you were looking for a vehicle." I told him I have a lovely 1985 Ford LTD which I praised in every way. I also told him about Lizzie the Model T and how I would like to place her with a loving purchaser who would fix her up and cherish her. I said I was in no rush, as she has been confined to her garage for fifty years. I told him it was Mother's darling car until she bought the '49 Ford. He connected me to William, also of Balise, and he was very much interested. I told him the garage is now surrounded by snow and ice so we'll have to wait a few months. I think I may have a buyer, the only issue is how much of a sucker he expects me to be to take it off my hands.

Eamon called and told me he will ask his car dealer friend in Florida how much I should charge for Lizzie. He also told me that Tom Devine called twice today. Eamon said several people have told him over the years that Albano was a bully in high school. Charlie Ryan told Eamon he stopped by the City Council meeting last night and all they did was approve licenses for used cars. Ryan thinks Springfield already has too many car lots.