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01-16-2020 Tri-City Area History Page

Who remembers Coloma City Hall when it looked like this? If you have interesting stories about the evolution of the building, please contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330,, or stop by Tues-Friday 10am-4pm they would love to hear your stories. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

The Paw Paw River Journal

Child of the Universe

The year was 1948 and Marion and I were a newly married couple. She was pregnant with our first child and working as an office nurse for Dr. Carl Boothby. I was driving back and forth to Western, almost ready to be graduated and become an English teacher. When I picked her up from work one afternoon, she had a story to tell. That morning one of Hartford’s Grande Dames had been in for some pills. She said to Marion, “Well, you look like you are about ready to pop. When is the baby due?” Marion answered, “First part of August, just a couple of weeks now.” The elderly society leader was mentally counting on her fingers. Marion said, “Don’t worry… we’re legal!” And we were, but that’s the way small town gossip works. After the baby was born, she was christened Deborah Louise Davis. And she was the first born child in our group of friends. Wherever we went the girls wanted to hold her and feed her a bottle. I think sometimes they did it hoping their guy would see how well they were suited for the motherhood role! How could Deb be anything but precocious and early to learn. She was always around adults as were all of our kids. And they loved it. They all knew that the fun of being with adults depended upon their acting with dignity wherever we went. Picture this! We were living in Connecticut for a year, right on the shore of Long Island Sound. I had a fellowship for a year’s study at Yale University. I was scheduled for a conference at Harvard up in Boston. No babysitters for several days, so we dressed them up and took the kids with us. At a welcoming cocktail party there we were, shining faces, and our kids mingling with the professors and we talked. Deb could discuss philosophy, and Becky, Rob, and little Laurie would all hold their own. I’m sure those professors were impressed. Laurie told me later she was not really interested in eating fish eggs on little crackers (caviar). That was the story of Deb’s life. She was great at math and science. No wonder she became a computer contractor. She fixed computer programs, mostly insurance for hospitals and medical groups. For a personal observation… I think some of them really need fixing! She married Gary Connor, who was an officer for the Michigan Consolidated Gas Company. I’ll never forget the first time she brought him to our house in Ann Arbor. Marion said, “Well Gary, we got a little problem with our gas water heater. Perhaps while you’re here you could take a look at it?” I said, “Marion, he’s an officer in the company. He doesn’t read meters!” Well, she probably thought he knew more about gas than we did! Together they reared two children: Michael who is an ER doctor and married Beth, who has her own physical therapy business, and Cathy who for years has been an officer with a large corporation. Deb had back problems… the curse of our family, and many other families too. She finally had to have surgery and some steel rods to stabilize her backbone. But the damage had been done. She had the problem for some time. So many over-the-counter pain medications, she had acid reflux. This in turn caused her to have a malignancy in her esophagus. First treated with chemotherapy, she was about to start something new involving her own immune system. She got up in the night and fell in the bathroom, sustaining a closed head injury. They performed surgery to relieve the pressure but she just went down and down, finally sleeping her life away about a week after we lost Marion. Now we are all trying to cope with the double loss. I’m not worried about where they are because they were both great women and I have to say I learned a lot from both of them! Wherever they are, I know it is a better place for having them both. I hope they are together and are saving a place at the table for us! I implied with my title that Deb is a child of the universe, she explained one time to me about Indra’s Net, and how we are all related as are all things in this universe. It doesn’t make up for the loss of two of the greatest ladies I have ever known. But it helps a lot! I know this is something all too many of you have experienced. Losing them has left a huge hole in our hearts that only God and the passage of time can heal. Meanwhile, we all go on, still trying to weave some golden threads into the Great Tapestry of Life in these story book towns along the Paw Paw River.

Tales from the Trails tonight at Coloma Public Library

A Coloma couple, Bonnie and Joe Barrett, will do a presentation on their 3,680 mile bike trip across the United States. The program is Thursday, Jan. 16 at the Coloma Public Library from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Attendees will be able to see the bicycles they rode and the equipment and accessories that was backed and carried, along with beautiful scenery. All are invited!

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. Coloma Public Library Book Sale The library is having a special book sale in the Community Room on Saturday, Feb. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be a special emphasis on art and theology books as well as clearance overflow from the bookstore. Pre-K Story Times Miss Alicia will host Story Times for toddlers and preschoolers on Tuesday mornings at 10:30 a.m. This interactive story time will also include a craft activity. Registration is not required to participate.

Play games, raise money for the Watervliet Library

Gamers are wanted! The Watervliet District Library is hosting a gaming tournament and charity gaming marathon Friday, Jan. 24, from 4-9 p.m. Pizza and snacks will be served during the event. There will be several ways to play and support the library. Players can compete in two console game tournaments (Super Smash Bros and Need for Speed Heat) with a $5 fee to play per heat. The champions’ prize: $25 gift card to Topps Trade Center. Other ways to play are with board game tournaments. There is a fee of $1 to play; set of earbuds and other freebies to every winner. Short on cash but still want to participate? Pick up a sponsor sheet. Every $5 of sponsor funds raised gains entry into one heat or an hour of play on the computers. A $1 sponsorship allows players a chance at a board game. Gather sponsors to play at home and share it with the library via Twitch, too! Gamers raising the most money will get a free t-shirt. All money must be turned in by January 31. What are players supporting with all this fun? The library is in need of a major computer upgrade. The Upton Foundation has generously approved a matching grant of $7,000 towards this project. The library is working to meet that match prior to the September deadline.

Watervliet District Library events Teen Table Projects

Can’t decide what to wear let alone what to read? The Watervliet Library Fortune Teller can help teens with at least one of those decisions! 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”. Third Monday Book Club Jan 20. 7 – 8 p.m. Great books, fabulous conversations! Ask for a copy at the desk. This month – Turtles All the Way Down by John Green Reading Delights Adult reading program from Jan. 20 to Feb. 29 with two Grand Prizes: $100 Harding’s Gift Card. Read two books per each entry. Free eats once a week, on the library! Since this program is all about food – take in a favorite family recipe and be part of the WDL Scrap Cook Book, too.


100 years ago – 1920 The blue and white basketball tossers again were victorious when they defeated the Hartford High School team by a score of 34 to 11. Stephen Bachman celebrated his 92nd birthday. He enjoyed reading the many letters and cards of greeting and congratulations. The ice harvest at Paw Paw Lake is under way. A large force of men was put to work scraping off the snow preparing to cut the ice. 60 years ago – 1960 Salem Lutheran Church held its annual meeting. Officers for 1960 are: Walter Wendzel, Ferdinand Conrad, Alton Wendzel and Fames Barricklow. David Faulkner hands over leadership to Dale Antes. Antes is the new Chamber of Commerce president. The meeting was held at Wil-O-Paw Inn. Harold C. Nitz is the 1960 “March of Dimes” chairman. Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Cubbage and daughters have returned from a wedding in Indiana. Miss Barbara Scheuer and brother John accompanied the Cubbage family. Roger Smith is Senior of the Week. He has served on the football, basketball and baseball teams. He also has been a class officer during each high school year. His future goal is dentistry or coaching. 30 years ago – 1990 Vernal Klitchman celebrated her 94th birthday with cake and punch. She owned and operated Vernal’s Ceramic Studio as well as a doll hospital. Her handmade dolls live in the U.S. and England and Greece. Admitted to Community Hospital: Rebecca Faultersack, Junior Cleary, Evelyn Smith and Phyllis Wycoff Dr. Charlotte Groff announces the winner in the DAR essay contest. Eighth grader Betsy Kaucher won first place. Her teacher is Mrs. Sandra Sanders. Betsy chose Thomas Edison and wrote her paper in the form of a letter from Edison to his daughter. Her essay will now be judged at the state level. 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 Stoddard Post of the American Legion is about to open its new club rooms above the W.J. Clark meat market, and any donations of serviceable rugs or old furniture to aid in furnishing the rooms will be appreciated. One of the boldest robberies reported about Hartford in some time occurred when thieves visited the corn crib at the Mrs. Frank Lammon farm two miles east of Hartford and drove away with a sleigh load of about 40 baskets of corn. The corn was the property of Azur Sweet who had stored it there. 75 years ago – 1945 The Hartford fire department was called out to extinguish a fire at the house on the Lawrence Slavin property adjacent to the airport on Pinery. Only slight damage resulted to the roof. Women’s organizations and individuals in Hartford, working through the Red Cross, are making 100 army kit bags, Mrs. A.W. Ishoy, Red Cross knitting chairman stated. These kits, which are made similar to duffle bags, will be filled with stationery and toilet articles and given to soldiers en route overseas. The Art Study class met at the home of its president, Mrs. William Watson. Walter Markillie presented the day’s lesson on the life and works of Constance Richardson, well known painter in oils. The lesson was enhanced by the reading of a personal letter from the artist outlining, in part, her own methods and stressing selectivity, elimination and form. 50 years ago – 1970 Mrs. Jack Goss will entertain the Modern Mothers Club at her home. Mrs. Thomas Smith will be co-hostess. Mrs. Bill Vann and Mrs. Jim Chappell are in charge of the program. Theme for the 1970 Blossomtime parade will be “Great Moments in History”. The parade, offering 18 awards and trophies will be held on May 9. Mrs. James Walker was chosen chairman of the Hartford Blossomtime organization for 1970. Her co-chairman will be Mrs. David Norden. Harold Walker Jr. was elected fire chief last week to succeed his father, Harold Walker Sr. who retired from the department. Donald Woodward was elected captain and David Sinclair was elected to the secretary-treasurer post. Elmer Hadley was re-elected assistant chief and Gale Weberg was re-elected lieutenant. Harold Walker Sr. had been a fireman there for more than 40 years. He was one of the youngest firemen when he joined the department at the age of 18. 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 Printed on Jan. 31, 1930: Help to preserve the good of the past. Try to select the best that the present offers; strive to transmit to others what is worthwhile. Give thy friend counsel wisely and charitably, but leave him to his liberty whether he will follow thee or no; and be not angry if thy counsel be rejected – Jeremy Taylor. Some of the strange and absurd credulity respecting amulets and talismans are accredited to past times; but superstitions as ridiculous still prevail at the present time. Every burglar who carries in his pocket a bit of charmed coal may defy the authorities. How the charmed coal is obtained is not known. Professional burglars often carry in their pockets a small lump of coal “for luck”. 60 years ago – 1960 Some 30 members of the Watervliet school bands will enter the Southwestern Michigan Band and Orchestra Association solo and ensemble contest. The contest includes 700 individual events. Watervliet band members will participate in 20 of them. Mrs. Clinton D. Bridges, Main Street’s oldest resident will observe her 91st birthday anniversary on Jan. 30, 1960. Although one of the city’s oldest residents, she appears many years younger than she is. She does her own housework and shopping and has an excellent memory. Tracy Barbers women’s bowling team of Watervliet set two new records at Will-O-Paw Lanes, when they rolled a scratch series of 2595, which included a high single game of 956. The series and game are the highest rolled by women since the opening of the alleys. 30 years ago – 1990 The Watervliet Public Schools Cooperative Educational Program continues to show impressive results. A current and two former students are employed in the office of Dr. Lianto. Theresa Williams began her work experience in 1985 and has been promoted to more responsible positions. Sheila Garland began her career in 1989 as a medical receptionist. Dawn Rule attends morning classes at WHS and works as an office assistant each afternoon. The Cooperative Educational Program benefits the employer in recruitment of employees with entry level skill and reduces the training period for new employees. Stephanie Openneer is a Cooperative Education student from WHS and is currently working at the Tri-City Record in Watervliet. She has been employed at the Record since the middle of Aug. 1989. Stephanie works on the compugraphic computer typing in all the news for the week’s paper. 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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