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.

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