Here's a few odds and ends from my trip to Springfield the other day.
Passing by the noble High School of Commerce (never, never to be called "Commerce High") I saw this student standing in front waiting for a bus. I asked to take his picture and he happily agreed, but then oddly enough refused to tell me when I asked for his name.
Here is the new business that has moved into the space once occupied by the now defunct Wells Credit Union, supposedly a financial institution for the poorest of the poor but turned into a private slush fund for the evil Aranjo family and their cronies.
The business there now may be a modest little beauty parlor, but at least it is an honest business, unlike its predecessor.
I stopped by American International College for a minute, in a futile attempt to check my email on their hopelessly inadequate public computers, and had a nostalgic moment outside the former doorway to the former classroom of former AIC art professor Richard Doyle.
Doyle, widely known as "The Twig Painter" endured the worst fate any painter can imagine - he went blind. I stopped by to visit him for a bit while I was in town, and despite his tragic existence he's still full of laughter, puns and dirty jokes.
This is the ruins of the building that once housed the former Charm Cafe, which used to have the less than accurate slogan "No Harm at the Charm."
The joint played a less than harmless role in my family's history. My father told me that some of his worst childhood memories involved the Charm Cafe, where his father often went after work on payday. Sometimes my grandmother used to send my Dad to try and get my grandfather to leave the bar before he blew all the rent money on booze. My father never went into much detail, but I guess there were some ugly scenes.
I was surprised to see this classic old house on Boston Road falling into ruin. This is the house I remember as being the place where the man lived who before Al Rivers was considered The Mayor of Pine Point.
The new gate around MassMutual may increase its security, but with it's outward pointing spikes it hardly increases it's friendliness.
Frankly it looks more like a fortress than an insurance company.
MassMutual purchased the land where State Bowl used to be. They tore the building down, leaving only this open field and the crumbling parking lot as remnants of what was once a major neighborhood entertainment attraction.
There wasn't a lot to do in Pine Point, which explains why we turned Saint Michael's Cemetery into a kind of park. As teenagers, one area of the graveyard that we used hold little beer and bong parties we called Woodstock. I'm not sure why, because there was never a concert held there, unless you count Carl Mayfield or Marc Walker strumming a guitar.
I don't like to think about how many of those kids who partied in that cemetery are now residents of it. Today is the fourteenth anniversary of the day they found one of those former Woodstock partiers, Jay Libardi, lying dead on the floor of his Pine Point home. Here's an appropriate tune by a Boston homeboy.