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.

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