Many of the names and some of the descriptions in this blog have been changed to protect the guilty.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Bullshitting to All Fields, Part 12

Hey folks! A $2.00 coupon for Carvel Ice Cream at Breckwood! And it’s good until November 15, 1980!

I could really go for a Cookiepuss or Cookie O’Puss or Fudgie the Whale ice cream cake. Or a Cookie Chick.

I wish I had the guts back then to crank call Carvel. Oh well, at least the Beastie Boys did:

Someone on the You Know You Grew Up in Springfield, Massachusetts group submitted the photo below and asked if there was a “dude ranch” in Sixteen Acres, because her mother insisted there was, and that’s where the picture originates.

In fact, where the Pride station is now once stood the Parker Street Stables. This is the only photo of the stables that I know of. But I know that there have got to be others out there. Somewhere, in a shoebox, probably, are photos of this vestige of the old rural Sixteen Acres. Someone please dig another one up!

According to the Facebook site Springfield, 413 Then and Now, the Plantation Man, AKA the Mutual Ford Giant (no, that’s not Steve Martin), had been in front of Headquarters Bar in Agawam…

…but now it’s relegated to the back? WTF? Bring him back to Pine Point where he belongs! And give him the red, white, and blue paint job!

Yes, he was once right there:

More backyard underground garbage hole lids, for you aficionados. Did you have one in your yard? Don’t mind the maggots.

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child:

Yes, there is an Electric Avenue in Ludlow.

Anyone remember Poor Richard’s?

It became:

Which of course is now...

It’s a wonderland! And so is this!

John F. Kennedy at the 1958 Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade:

Speaking of Kennedy, he was one of six presidents who visited the old Colony Club on Maple Street (below). The others: William Howard Taft; Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, and Calvin Coolidge. Some exterior and interior shots:

 The place burned in 1966.

Mmm. Vincent’s. For some reason, I’m getting hungry. Very hungry. I want some fare and some spirits.

Graffiti photos by Greg Saulmon of Springfield gangs Eastern Avenue (Ave.), Sycamore Street (Syc), and Soldiers With a Talent (SWAT).

Yes, you once could get a mustache comb at The Cutlery in Eastfield Mall.

Some big names played at the old Warehouse One in Indian Orchard, including NRBQ, FAT, Clean Living, and Duke and the Drivers. Mountain played there in ’74. The place opened in 1972.

Owned by Sixteen Acres’ own Socrates Babacas, a developer who was a controversial figure in Springfield politics, Warehouse One closed in 1975 after tax violations and numerous complaints of fights at the place (including one involving the district attorney’s son). Now it’s just a warehouse again.

Babacas, who died in 2006, ran for mayor of Springfield in 1971, but pulled out of the race after being arrested and charged with passing bad checks. The Birchland Avenue resident once offered to buy the Philadelphia Phillies for $225 million. He also wanted to buy the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1994, and was part of a group that was vying to purchase the Chicago White Sox in 1980. Oh yeah, he also wanted to buy the Patriots.

Preacher Man

Yep, Preacher Man done got busted again. “Minister” Randolph Lester was arrested on Leap Day last February for refusing to stop panhandling in Mason Square. And when he refused to comply, the cops pepper sprayed him. I knew he got busted a lot, but we come to find out he has 88 criminal convictions

“The Preacher,” without his minister’s collar, hands out pre-filled “lucky” lottery slips in traffic (above), and he gets pissed if you don’t pay him!

The preacher is also a singer, too:

Yes, that’s a Corona he’s drinking in public.

I’ll leave you this month with some of my fondest Preacher memories:

In the distance, at the corner of State and Oak, Preacher Man was doing his thing: praising the Lord and bumming for money. Damn it, this was a red light that I wanted desperately to turn green. Preacher Man was pressing the pedestrian walk button repeatedly, like the squeegee guys in New York, to hit up as many drivers as possible. A walking city landmark, Preacher Man was wearing his signature fake priest’s collar, but the only salvation he really cared about was his next dollar, bottle of booze, and hit of crack. His M.O.: handing out religious literature that he had pilfered from churches, as well as lottery cards with the numbers he has already filled in—the idea being that you buy one because it’s a sure winner: it had been blessed. 
But Lady luck wasn’t smiling on Preacher Man—no one would open a window, despite his persistence. He had one hand on the hood of the car in front of ours and he waved the lottery tickets with the other. He looked skyward, enraptured. He looked down and stomped his foot. He was clearly not happy that no one wanted to listen to his benediction, even though his ramblings are virtually impossible to understand. 
I had given Preacher Man money in the past—before I left Springfield in 1986 and when I came back in 2007. He sure was less intimidating in the Eighties. Now, with crazy, Einstein-like salt-and-pepper hair and beard—he’s a truly scary sight. Back then he was better-groomed and his hair, of course, was darker. Since I’ve been back, Preacher Man’s left eye also has gotten gray—with a cataract, adding to the bizarreness of his “sermons.” Once I asked him what happened to his eye. He responded, “Which one?” 
He staggered toward my car. Bad news. He had been arrested for a couple of disturbances in the past few years, including a stabbing. Word had it he got locked up on purpose to get off the streets in the winter. I had always considered him harmless, but he was busted a few years ago for making lewd comments to a couple of girls and getting an eight-year-old boy in a headlock. This happened at a park right around the corner and it has undoubtedly hurt his “ministry” efforts, although I get the feeling that his victims weren’t totally innocent. Kids have been known to give him a hard time. Back in the 1980s he used to chew out children for skipping school in the park, and they yelled back at him. I think he might have been getting teased in this latest incident. 
And there he was in the window: the cataract, the lottery tickets, and a red rosary around his neck. The light turned green. I accelerated. In the rear-view mirror Preacher Man ranted and raved and headed back toward the pedestrian button.

Read more about Preacher Man in this post.