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01-09-2020 Tri-City Area History Page

The Paw Paw River Journal

Memories of brother Bob

Today is winter outside. And I should be going to a funeral. But here I am in my warm apartment looking out, and I’m glad to be in here. We lost Marion’s brother Bob. He and I have been living here in lonely splendor for several months now. We were the last members of our two blended families… now I am the last one. Since I’ve been here, time has been sort of telescoping. What I mean is that events from way back and from recent times have sort of been squeezed together. And because of where I should be today my memories of Bob are cascading through my mind. He has been part of my life ever since Marion and I started dating in high school. I have a certain amount of claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces), and I date it back to a time when we took Marion’s brothers, Bob and Louis, for an afternoon of fun at Silver Beach, the old amusement park on the waterfront at St. Joe. We were in the fun house and decided to go through the maze… winding through and around tunnel after tunnel. It was crowded, and someone up in front fainted. People behind us kept jamming in, and we were being horribly squeezed. Marion and I had the boys between us and the only thing that kept them from getting squashed was by our holding ourselves apart. Luckily someone in back told everyone in a loud voice to back up and we finally got out. I date my fear of closed spaces from that time on. I don’t think the boys even realized how close we were to tragedy. My life’s history from those days has been inextricably bound with Marion and her family. Bob and I became friends, and when I came home from service he was a young teenager. We shot hoops, skied together, and rode a toboggan the boys made from old horse drawn sled parts. We’d get someone to pull us behind the pickup with long ropes way out in the country. When Bob and Louis were grown and had their own cars we’d work on them at night out in the farm shop. Bob had a ‘49 Chevy then a ‘51. Louis had a black ‘53 Ford and Marion and I had a blue ’53 Ford. The boys took turns going into the Army to serve our country and they both did so honorably. I can remember when Bob was coming home Louis and I got his Chevy out of storage and washed it, so it would be ready for him. Bob was in our wedding party as a young teenager, and both times he was married I was Best Man at his. When the Kling family went out of the farming business both boys and their sons got into the building trades. Over the years since then I don’t know how many times we have upgraded our home and outbuildings. They always did it and it was always quality work! Whenever their crew was working on our house, we fed them lunch. And it was a festive time… we sort of made a break in the work day into a little family gathering. Marion and I finally decided we needed to go into assisted living. I was worried if something happened in the night what would we do! Daughter Becky found this place very near to where she and Jim live. And we were happy here. In fact, when brother Bob decided he too need more help, he moved into a nearby apartment. And we had jolly times together. But after a while we could see his health fading. Just lately our family has been hit pretty hard. We lost Marion in July, and over in Farmington we also lost eldest daughter Deb. While being treated for an internal malignancy, she fell one night in the bathroom and suffered a closed head injury. After that she just went down and down. Bob was here to provide sympathy for me both times. After that we had an autumn time when we were on the upswing a little. I think we provided some dining room entertainment for our friends. On a good day we would have our tap shoes on. But I could see that he was losing ground slowly. Hospice was now taking care of him, and they were doing a good job! The afternoon before he went into his final sleep, I went in to visit him. He was conscious, but just barely. I held his hand and told him I loved him. We both knew it was the last time we would meet in this vale of tears. And early the next morning he was gone. And now I have been wondering, thinking about time and how it has telescoped. And I think of past events… so crystal clear in my mind. If they are gone forever, I hope we will see each other in the future. A friend of ours, Connie Hatch, publishes an email newsletter out in the mountains of Pennsylvania. She said: “Time is an illusion. It is the human’s attempt to measure memories and expectations. The only real true moment is now! Embrace it, for it is already a memory.” I am sure the best thing we can do is embrace the ones we love in this life. Tell them how we feel and let them know how much we appreciate weaving golden threads into the Great Tapestry of Life in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River with them!

Unidentified man blowing snow at Logan & Thomas streets, Coloma. Man on snow pile also unidentified. If you have any information on these men or a blizzard story, please contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330,, or stop by Tue-Fri 10am-4pm, they would love to hear your stories. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

Library News Coloma Public

January Story Times Miss Alicia will host Story Times for toddlers and preschoolers on Tuesdays in January. Story Times will be at 10:30 a.m. Registration is not required to participate. Local Author Visit Meet Coloma author Don Pierce on Tuesday, Jan. 14. Pierce will be available to talk about his work and sign copies of his books from 5 – 7 p.m. Tails from the Trail Enjoy trail snacks with Coloma couple Bonny and Joe Barrett who will share their 3,680-mile bike adventure across the United States. Loaded bikes will be on display. The event will be Thursday, Jan. 16 starting at 6 p.m. Book Club The Coloma Public Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Honey Bus” by Meredith May. Depending on demand there may be titles available for check-out at the front desk. New members are always welcome.

Hartford Public Toddler Time

The story program at Hartford Public Library for toddlers will begin on Wednesday, Jan. 15 with books and songs. No registration is necessary. The program begins at 10:30 a.m. and is usually about 30-45 minutes followed with playtime. LEGO Challenge A special “LEGO Challenge” program starts on Wednesday, Jan. 15 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Prizes will be given for children participating in the challenge activities. LEGO Challenge activities will be on two Wednesdays every month. No registration is required to participate. Senior Movie Days The Hartford Public Library is offering Senior Movie Days twice every month, every first and third Tuesday. Movies start at 2 p.m. Seniors are encouraged to bring friends and a snack. Popcorn and beverages are provided. On Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. they will be showing “On Golden Pond” with a run time of 109 minutes. The complete movie schedule can be found on the library website,

Watervliet District In Stitches Knitting Group

On Friday, Jan. 10 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. community members can take a current project or interest in learning and they will help you get started! Arm knitting supplies and 1-on-1 instructions, too! Sensory Bin Blast On Tuesday, Jan. 14 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. is the perfect time for a perfect mess! For 0 – 5 year olds and their families. Family Movie Night After-hours at the Library, start your weekends off with a treat! The third Friday evening each month this winter means: Movies! Popcorn! Crafts! Friday, Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. features “James and the Giant Peach”. STEM Kit Programs Snap Circuits – LEGO Robotics – Little Bits Electronic Inventions STEM kit programs designed for small groups to work together to make an endless number of inventions. New groups are set up with participant’s schedule in mind. Anyone 8 years and up that is interested can sign up at the desk. Computer upgrade The Watervliet District Library has received a $7,000 Frederick S. Upton Foundation matching grant to purchase badly needed new public computers. Help them meet their goal with new donations, and have fun at the same time!


100 years ago – 1920 Charles O. Ball, son of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. H. Ball leaves for New Mexico. He has interested himself in the silver mining business and will be secretary-treasurer of the Cooperative Mining Company. We are the agency for the Sheridan and Firestone tires. With every tire purchase, we will give you a new tube. Lowell S. Guy & Son The Coloma Theatre – See Peggy Hyland in “Miss Adventure.” It’s good. Admission 18 cents, war tax 2 cents. 60 years ago – 1960 Susan Friday smiles broadly as she is crowned Cherry Pie Baking Queen. Her crown is a garland of carnations and cherries. John Miller, high school senior, has been an exchange student in Europe over the summer. He will be guest speaker at the Coloma PTA meeting. Ingraham School PTA will hold a special meeting to discuss the variety show. The citizen’s advisory committee will meet with the architects to discuss the new high school building. Preliminary drawings will be present. The Home Economics class will give their annual fashion show. Dresses, table settings, model homes and interior decorating will be showcased. Robert Carter and Bill Warman are doing the stage setting. 30 years ago – 1990 Before a crowd of sixty and in the face of some opposition, the Coloma Commissioners approved an ordinance to create a DDA. The DDA allows the town to be eligible for financial assistance from the state. DeGroot, Inc. has donated flower bulbs to the hurricane-stricken city of Charleston, South Carolina. The retail value of the bulbs is $34,000. We Asked You… “Should cable companies be required to block out duplicate programs?” Billy Gann, Candy Lowery and Mary Munger all say, “No.” Mr. and Mrs. Harold V. Moser were honored with a buffet reception celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. They are active in Faith Lutheran Church. Submitted by volunteer Sandi Musick Munchow at Coloma Public Library from the Coloma Courier newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon & Fri, 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Tue, Wed & Thu, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Sat, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Phone: 269-468-3431


100 years ago – 1920 On New Year’s Eve the Hartford Woman’s Club, with husbands as guests, enjoyed the Grand Opera IL Travatore on the Victrola. The committee in charge of the evening was Mesdames Bennett, Fox, Tyrell, Mortimer and Boss. Club was called to order by president, Mrs. Marie Wilson. The program was presided over by Mrs. Alice Bennett as chairman. Mrs. Boss had an interesting paper on the life of Verdi. The story of the opera was beautifully told by Mrs. Minnie Morse Fox. This was followed by the opera on the Victrola. Each selection was interpreted in detail by Mrs. Zula Tyrell. At the close of the program refreshments were served. Hartford was without electric power and lights part of Friday and Saturday, while the water wheels at the Anderson Bros. plant north of town were being thawed out. The heavy fall of snow resulted in a big volume of slush ice, which found its way to the water wheels and froze them solid. 75 years ago – 1945 Fred Ward, owner of Ward’s File farm, purchased the Main Tavern from Al Hardenbrook who has operated the business for the last seven years. Mrs. James Eglinas and Mrs. Rudy Munjoy will manage it. Somewhere in New Guinea First Lieutenant Robert M. Conolly has been awarded the bronze star metal for heroic achievement in connection with military operations against the Japanese last June in the Maffin Bay campaign. A field artillery liaison officer, Conolly remained in a forward position to adjust artillery fire and lay down smoke concentrations which enabled the infantry to consolidate its perimeter and evacuate casualties. 50 years ago – 1970 Hartford’s first elected city clerk was hard at work in her office this week. Jewell Story replaced Louise Engle in the post January 1 following a special election which resulted from an amendment to the city charter. Mrs. Engle had held the post of both clerk and treasurer when they were appointive, but did not seek election to either office. Michael Duffy is the newly elected treasurer. Submitted by Librarian Stephanie Daniels at Hartford Public Library from microfilm copies of the Hartford Day Spring. Hours: Mon, Tue & Wed, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Thu & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Phone: 269-621-3408


90 years ago – 1930 Chocolate milk is a new drink that is being produced by the Watervliet Creamery and put up for trade in half pint bottles to retail at five cents. Fifty sample bottles of this drink were sent by the creamery to workers at the paper mill and this refreshing and nutritious drink is apparently due to meet with great popular favor as a winter refreshment. The first shipment of baby chicks for the season to arrive at the local post office came in on the morning mail on Jan. 24, 1930. Although it was around zero outside, the 400 little chicks were quite comfortable in the steam heated building. Orville Warskow celebrated his 13th birthday on Jan. 20, 1930 by taking 23 of his friends and school teachers for a sleigh ride. Upon their return they were invited to sandwiches, fruit salad, cake and coffee. 60 years ago – 1960 Mrs. Rose Norman was awarded first place, third place and honorable mention honors in a resent colored slide contest sponsored by the Roseland, Indiana Camera Club. “Winter Morning”, the slide which captured first place, was a picture of Paw Paw River which she took north of Watervliet. “Jack Frost”, took third place and a picture of Judy Wendzel and Penny Smith at the sand dunes won honorable mention. A luncheon in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Watervliet Paper Company was held at the Bel Air restaurant. It was attended by the high ranking seniority employees from the various departments. A/1C Carmon L. Jensen, Watervliet, was selected as the “Outstanding Airman of the Month” for Nov. 1959 at the 3937 USAF Hospital, San Pablo Air Base, Spain. He has been in the Air Force four years and spent 3-1/2 years of that time in Spain. 30 years ago – 1990 Pvt. Dennis J. Timmons has completed basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. During the training, students received instruction in drill and ceremonies, weapons, map reading, tactics, military courtesy, military justice, first aid, and Army history and traditions. He is a 1989 graduate of WHS. Central Michigan University’s fall semester honors list includes a student from Watervliet who placed in the top ten percent of her class. That student is Julie E. Creeden. She is a senior at CMU. The Watervliet Schools Employee of the Month for January is Jeannette Lottridge, lunchroom supervisor at North School. Jeannette is being recognized for her outstanding management of the noon lunchroom and playground settings at North School. Submitted by Sally Q. Gonzalez from files at Watervliet District Library of the Watervliet Record newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon & Wed, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Tue, Thu & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Phone: 269-463-6382


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