December 1999

December 1, 1999

37 degrees at 2:40pm.

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

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

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

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

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

December 2, 2000

Sunny, 28 degrees at 7:30am.

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 3, 1999

36 degrees at 7:15am.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 4, 1999

42 degrees on the breezeway at 7:15am.

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 4, 2000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 5, 2000

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 6, 1999

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 8, 1999

Lovely day, 34 degrees at 8:45.

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 9, 1999

36 degrees and frosty at 8:45am.

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

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

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

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