The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


In transition.

This headline in The Springfield Republican says it all.

So let's drop the subject.

This morning I woke up to the sound of pouring rain. I looked out the window next to my bed and saw the world looking all gloomy and wet.

I felt bummed out, but then I got mad at myself and remembered how lucky I am to even be here and alive on this day, no matter what the weather. Self-pity is a luxury I can't afford. I know that if I just stay sober, trust in God and stick with my program then everything is going to be okay.

Northampton is filled with alleyways and secret shortcuts. Over the years I've pretty much learned them all.

I can get from one end of downtown to the other without ever stepping foot on Main Street. Another back alley traveler is this Hadley farmtruck delivering fresh milk to the downtown restaurants.

Here is a popular shortcut that runs behind Thornes. It even has a name, Kirkland Avenue, but despite this big sign no one calls it that. They simply say "That passageway behind Thornes."

Here is the same passageway from the other end.

Inbetween the passageway is smeared end to end with grafitti. Here's a statement from an unhappy tenant.

Wouldn't it be easier just to take him to housing court? This door has barely an inch left for new graffiti.

Perhaps a psychic, foreseeing my future arrival, left this message.

A lot of effort went into portraying this rock star and her guitarist cat.

It's a pretty cool passage as back alley shortcuts go, so check it out next time you're in Hamp.

I'm saddened to hear of the death of Leonard Collamore (below center) best known perhaps as the creator of the popular local quiz show As Schools Match Wits.

I never had the wits to go on that show, but I did have Collamore as a professor at Springfield Technical Community College. It was an American history course, which he taught in a dull monotone, but his lectures were redeemed by the fact that he was so obviously in love with his subject matter. He was a patriot in the old-fashioned sense, who thought the role of teaching history was to inspire you to be a good citizen and to play a role in the American experiment in self-government. Unlike so many modern history teachers, who think it is their duty to crush a student's patriotism in the name of "critical thinking," Collamore believed your sense of American history should be grounded in idealism. Dull speaker or not, we desperately need more history teachers like Leonard Collamore today.

Collamore was also a political figure as well, being elected and re-elected many times to various positions in municipal and county government. Perhaps most memorably he served as Charlie Ryan's chief of staff during Charlie's first three terms in the 1960's. That was where I first met Collamore, in the mayor's office, where my second grade class, on a field trip to City Hall, were invited for a minute or two to meet the mayor. In his prestigious position as Chief of Staff, it was Collamore's duty to pass out lollipops to us as Ryan shook our hands.

The last time I saw Collamore in person was at one of Charlie's inaugurals. He remembered me as one of his STCC students and also was aware of this website. He said he liked it that I was a political activist, but as a devout Kennedy Democrat he added that I should be "less partisan."

The history of the local Democrat Party machine, when it is written, will be a story of scandal, incompetence and shame. But the best historians will at least pause to note that Leonard Collamore was one of the good guys.


dominique said...

On the other hand...dark, rainy, cold days like this are great for snuggling under the covers and snoozing for a bit longer, or for getting out and enjoying the way the mist and wetness creates such distinct contrast between light and dark. Fall colors are at their best in the rain, if you ask me, and even the browns and grays of late winter show us their outlines and profiles most clearly and beautifully in the dark, even light of an otherwise dull day.

Look again, and marvel that you are able to change your point of view at will!

Carol Palmer said...

Tommy, Good job on the Pine Point Library photos. I went to OLSH, but all my friends went to Balliet. (Who was Balleit?)

Does anyone have photos of the old Downtown Kreske departement store? Or the old Kings, you know the one in town in the old factory building?

Carol Palmer