January 2000

January 1, 2000

27 degrees at 7:45am.

The cold 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 tearsheet from the Valley Advocate on the drug war which was enhanced by my "Wear Orange...." stamp.

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