My friend is writing a fictional science fiction novel set in the future of Springfield. He asked me if I would show him some historic sights in my old hometown pertaining to the Springfield Armory. On our way there we stopped on Boston Road so that he could stop at a legal drug dealer for some nicotine. It used to be a donut shop in my day, but I can't remember whether it was Dunkin Donuts or Bess Eaton.
While my friend scored his smokes I walked around the immediate vicinity shooting pics. Across the street from the nicotine dealer is this abandoned Bickford's.
For decades that building used to be an Abdows Big Boy.
My sister Bev worked there, as did Muriel Couture, the mother of one of my friends. On the other side of the smoke shop is this tuxedo rental place, which has been there for as long as I can remember.
On the other side is this gas station/car wash where I was once employed for most of one summer.
I worked the graveyard shift from eleven to seven. It used to get pretty lonesome there sometimes, especially around three in the morning when there was no business. It wasn't uncommon at that hour for perverts to call the gas station phone and want to talk dirty. I'm not into phone sex, but at first I would listen just out of boredom. Eventually I stopped though, because the glimpse I was getting into the sad, sick life of people who call gas stations in the middle of the night was too depressing.
It wasn't always that bad though, sometimes after last call my friends would come by and we would drink and smoke weed. I think that's how I ended up getting fired, just in time to enjoy the last weeks of summer!
People who zoom up and down Boston Road for no other reason than to go shopping don't always realize that behind the commercial strip there are large residential areas, like here on Lucerne Street.
Heading downtown we reached the site of the old Armory. We stopped across from the noble High School of Commerce to see this monument to General Knox.
Later we went by The Fort Restaurant, which is the site where the early settlers of Springfield hid-out while Indians burned Springfield to the ground. I assumed a karate pose just in case any of them tried to come back.
I'll tell you more about my friend's book as it progresses.
Speaking of books, I just finished reading Hubble: 15 Years of Discovery by Lars Lindberg Christensen, Robert A. Fosbury, and M. Kornmesser. It is mostly a picture book - and what pictures!
Our atmosphere makes it impossible to see clearly into outerspace, since it distorts and filters the light from distant objects trying to reach Earth. The Hubble Space Telescope floats above the atmosphere while orbiting the Earth, giving it a crystal clear view of the heavens such as no earthly eye could experience.
The Hubble Space Telescope is considered the world's most successful scientific project. It is named after Edwin Powell Hubble, the father of modern cosmology. The first person to think of putting a telescope in outer space was rocket scientist Hermann Oberth in 1923. In 1946 American astronomer Lyman Spitzer devised a telescope that would work in space, but there was no way at the time to launch one into orbit. In the 1970's NASA and the European Space Agency began working together to make a space telescope a reality. On April 24th 1990 their dream was realized when Hubble was launched from the space shuttle.
Outer space has been described as an immense cosmic dance, choreographed by gravity. Hubble has been used to try to map that dance, but the universe is still bigger than we understand, maybe even bigger than we can understand. For each answer Hubble comes up with about the nature of our universe, hundreds of new questions are posed.
The Hubble Space Telescope is one of those rare government projects that actually delivered more than the taxpayers paid for. It was supposed to last only until 2005, but is still in space exploring the universe.
Where is Hubble in its orbit around Earth right this second? To see for yourself click here.
In front of Downtown Motors in Northampton there is this old Dodge truck on display. Does anybody know what year it was made?
Finally, here's about a half minute of downtown Hamp this weekend, courtesy of Tony Mateus.