The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Big Hat Daddy

Hey everybody, I was in Springfield all day yesterday, and of course my camera was snapping! My bus trips to the city of my birth always take me first to Holyoke, where I have to transfer to the bus to Springfield. While waiting I noticed that yet another spring has sprung with no sign of life at the old Holyoke Catholic High School.

One of Holyoke's many abandoned factory smokestacks.

Once in Springfield I headed up to ol' Pine Point to visit my friends and relatives in Saint Michael's Cemetery. While there I was surprised to see standing right near me a wild turkey! If I'd only had the sense to just aim my camera and shoot I would've gotten a good picture. But of course I had to try for the Pulitzer Prize winning shot by taking just a few steps closer - which spooked the creature and left me with only this shot of the bird running away.

Later I enjoyed some moments of peace and serenity by the Mill River.

It's hard to believe that nothing remains of the old Russell's Restaurant.

I also stopped by the site of the original World Famous Thomas M. Balliet Elementary School, now a shuttered ruin.

But looking through the front window, I was surprised to see the school entrance mat still in place.

Frankly I don't remember us ever calling ourselves bears in my day. My mother however did coach a girl's softball team called The Balliet Bombers.

Passing through downtown on my way home, I took a picture of the famous Puritan statue next to the City Library.

Many people assume it is a statue of William Pynchon, the founder of Springfield, but actually it is of Samuel Chapin, the patriarch of one of the city's founding families. I wonder what he would think if he could see the city today.

They were hard judges, those puritans.

While I was taking pictures two black kids, who looked like they might have been brothers, asked me why I was photographing the Chapin statue. I was amused that they called Chapin by the name "Big Hat Daddy." I explained that he was one of the founders of Springfield, but it appeared to be the first they'd heard of it. They also told told me that they lived in the apartment tower right across the street. I asked them if they would pose for a picture with Big Hat Daddy, but they refused.

Later I visited the nearby Dr. Seuss National Memorial and stole a kiss from my childhood friend The Cat in the Hat. Now there was a real Big Hat Daddy.

Finally I arrived back in Northampton, heading downstairs for a relaxing cup of tea in the Haymarket.

Ralph Hexter, President of Hampshire College, has responded with wit to the declaration by the Huffington Post that his college is the most hipster in the nation. President Hexler figures that makes him "hipster-in-chief" and asks: "If I were truly hipster-in-chief, shouldn’t there have been a photo of me, preferably with my husband?"

President Hexter and his husband Manfred Kollmeier

When YouTube was introduced in 2005 I was the first local blogger to use it, thereby helping to launch the video revolution in our Pioneer Valley blogosphere. I remember that this was the first video I ever saw appear on YouTube about Northampton that wasn't by me.

Here is some classic footage filmed by someone going down Route Nine while riding into Amherst on a bus way back in 1995.


Tony said...

you should take possession of that Balliet mat...

The Naked Writer said...

I love the Cat in the Hat statue! It looks like you are kissing a great big chocolate Easter Dr. Suess character! Yum!

Anonymous said...