01-19-2017 Tri-City Area History

              The Paw Paw River Journal

Have no regrets!

 Late afternoon light fading and there were snowflakes in the air.  The Chief Accountant and I sat down to our evening meal.  Cozy kitchen and we were thankful for our food and being together.  And I said to her, “You know, this is the time of day when it seems as though there should be more people here!”  But it was just us… and memories of times past when we had people around the table.

She said, “Yes, I feel the same way!”  And it was then we talked about family members who are no longer with us.  So many of them now that we have reached the age we have!  And we were still lonely, but there were more people back in the room… making warm memories.

Back in the day when our kids were small, I was teaching at St. Joe High School.  Every day I drove over there.  A friend of mine, Jim Keech, told me once his dad said, “Always live east of where you work.  That way you will go to work in the morning with the sun at your back, and when you drive home it will be the same way!”  When I look back on those days, I certainly lucked out on that!

Came the weekend, and I looked forward to working around here, or having some time to myself.  And often Marion would say, “I was talking to your folks, and they would really like to go shopping down in Benton Harbor and St. Joe. They said they will take us out to lunch.”  My dad had given up driving, so it meant a lot to them.  I agreed, albeit somewhat reluctantly giving up my free time.  Marion has so many times made me better than myself in those ways.

And we had a favorite restaurant in St. Joe… Holly’s Grill.  Actually there were two… the one in St. Joe, and one in Benton Harbor, on Main Street almost across from the Liberty Theater.  That one was next to the first Chinese Restaurant I’d ever seen… Hung Fong’s.  We never ate in there, but I think there is still a hexagon window in that building, which was their trade mark.  We usually ate at the Holly’s in St. Joe.

We would get a big table, and all the kids got to order their own meal… how big they felt.  They almost always wanted a cheeseburger and French fries.  At Holly’s in those days, on your very birthday you got a free meal until you were 12 years old.  When one of our daughters reached that magic age… she was ordering her free meal for the last time.  And she asked for a cheeseburger and French fries.

Our favorite waitress stood pencil poised, ready to take our order.  (She was one of my favorite former students.) She said, “You know, you could order anything you want… wouldn’t you like to have a steak?”

Our daughter shook her head emphatically, “No, I’d like a cheeseburger and fries!”  And that was that!  And my folks loved taking us there.  My dad was a real coffee drinker, and he always wanted to know what brand they were using.  Then he would buy that brand to try it out.  Those times my Chief Accountant made sure we took them shopping now are among our cherished memories!  And that has saved me from many regrets!

Later on Howard Johnson’s became a favorite eating place.  We were living in Ann Arbor, and every Friday night they had “all you can eat” clam strips.  Did we make out like bandits on that!   When we were living in Connecticut, we also had a favorite Howard Johnson’s… one of our friends who was a native admitted that their clams were every bit as good as the local places.

Then our Aunt Hope took us to a Bill Knapp’s restaurant.  For some reason she always called it ‘Fred Knapp’s.’  And they had a program whereby a customer on his or her very birthday got the percentage off the bill that was the number of years they were old.  And the lucky person got a free birthday cake!  Now Marion was born on her mom’s birthday, so on that occasion I would take them both to Bill Knapp’s.  I made out like a bandit on that bill!

Now those restaurants have gone the way of all things… Robert Frost said in a poem “…as dawn goes down to day, so nothing gold can stay.”   And we are left with the memories of all the good times we had.  And that brings me back to my original thought.  I am so glad that we did all of those things with our folks and all the others who have slipped into the shadowed part of The Great Circle of Life.  The friends, with whom we traveled, went camping and spent vacations.

Our kids were all enthusiastic travelers.  We never had to worry that they would act out frustrations in a restaurant.  They loved eating out, st

aying iaaying in motels, and camping.  We took them on every trip as long as they were living at home.  And they loved it all.  Guess we were lucky on that.  Marvelous memories!  I wish we could even have done more.

And all the older ones are gone now. Do I have some regrets?  Yes, but it would have been much worse but for Marion and the enthusiasm of our children.  So I guess there’s my advice for today.  Try to live so you will have as few regrets as possible.  Even so, there will be some.  But we must all try to weave as many golden threads into the tapestry of our lives in these story book towns as we can.  I’m afraid we will only have one go-around!  Wish it could be more!

Watervliet District Library News

Buy a brick from the Watervliet District Library as a legacy gift to honor the cherished people in your life.  Help create a new Garden Park for our community.

Story Hour:

Wed. 10:30 – 11:30 & Thurs. 1:30 – 2:30

This class is offered for ages 3 – 5 years and includes stories, crafts, show-and-tell and snacks every week until the end of April.

Words of Wisdom Book Club:

Third Monday of every month

Read something great – or something awful! – and cannot wait to talk about it: Here’s your chance! Together, the club will come up with the next riveting title. Registration is required; sign up by giving the library a call or stopping in.

Teens Table

January 2017 is community coloring table, all set up to commune around. Stop in any time and add to the design. The finished project will be framed.


9:00 a.m. every Monday morning and Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm

Adult Coloring Class:

Last Monday of every month, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Thank goodness we can finally admit that coloring is fun!  Join us in a relaxing evening of creativity with colored pencils and paper. Background tunes and snacks will help set the mood. Come prepared to sit back and unwind! All supplies are provided; give us a call to register. Already caught the coloring bug? Feel free to bring your own!

For more information or to register for any of these programs, please call the library at 463-6382 or stop in.


100 years ago – 1917

 The ice men have been rewarded this year with the best ice ever cut from Paw Paw Lake. Brown’s Ice Company Big House is filled with 10-inch crystal clear ice.

Charles O. Ball became the assistant cashier of the Dime Savings Bank of Detroit and was elected president of the State Bank of Coloma. Ball, 31, previously held the position of Bank Examiner for five years.

60 years ago – 1957

 Assets and earnings reached an all time high for the State Bank of Coloma, reports Allen W. Baker Jr. Clifford E. Hanson has been promoted from teller to Assistant Cashier.

Services were held in Chicago for Charles Leonard Caprez, 80. He and his wife Neva lived at Little Paw Paw Lake since 1936.

John Deere Day was attended by 300 farmers. Highlighting the day were six all-color motion pictures, demonstrations and displays.

Charlie Maxwell of the Detroit Tigers will speak and show movies of the 1956 World Series at the Coloma Rod & Gun Club. The public is invited.

The Town & Country Club will equip all items needed for the clinical room at the new elementary school. Mrs. James Barricklow is chairman with Mrs. Victor Friday and Mrs. James Jollay helping.

30 years ago – 1987

 The Coloma Township Planning Commission agreed to allow Kenneth Parrigin to rezone his property from agricultural to commercial. Parrigin will build an office building at his Quality Paving Company on DeField Road.

Mrs. Riemer has finished the mural at Coloma Elementary. The mural is in the main entrance and all are invited to view it. ­­

Navy Seaman Apprentice Robert H. Feury has completed recruit training in Orlando, Florida.

Miss Lisa Zoschke, daughter of Fred and Linda Zoschke will compete in the Michigan Homecoming Queen selection to be held in Lansing.


100 years ago – 1917

 On January 9, twelve ladies of the West End Club met at Mrs. Will Dade’s and were taken from there by Mr. Thornton to his home, where Mrs. Thornton was hostess to the W.E.C. Mrs. Cushman, the president called the meeting to order. Mrs. Hammel read a paper entitled “New Year’s Resolutions,” and Mrs. Cushman read one “In the Garden of Years,” which were enjoyed by all.

The acquisition of an important manufacturing enterprise in Hartford was brought one step nearer a reality when the common council met at an adjourned session to confer with H.F. Baker relative to the establishment of a local plant for the manufacture of the various articles which Mr. Baker and his associates are producing from marl as a substitute for hard rubber.

75 years ago – 1942

 The Hartford Mother’s Club met at the home of Mrs. Thomas Pollard. The work of the evening centered on cookbooks which the members are compiling. These cookbooks will be finished soon and will be for sale.

Mrs. Leo Latus entertained the twelve members of her bridge club last Thursday evening. The prizes for the evening were defense stamps. Mrs. Helen Meachum won the traveling prize; the first prize was won by Mrs. Alta Harley, the second by Mrs. Lily Hastings and Mrs. Nieta Widner.

The Hartford Art Study Class met at the home of Mrs. Minnie Fox on Church Street. The lesson was given by Mrs. William Watson who spoke on the “Life and Works of Howard Pyle”. Mrs. Florence Luce gave a humorous reading and Mrs. Alice Hurry finished the work on “Americas to the South.”

50 years ago – 1967

 School board members from Hartford and Lawrence will get some firsthand views on merger of school districts. Harold Sauser, superintendent of the new River Valley School, will speak to the two boards. River Valley is a consolidation of three smaller districts. Hartford and Lawrence boards already have had one session to talk over the possibilities of merging the two school districts.


90 years ago – 1927

 A dancing party will be held at Carmody Opera House. The Dizzy Six entertainers will furnish the music; dancing from 8:30 to 12.

Max Woolcott received a parcel post, the consignment of baby chicks through the local post office. There were 500 chicks in the lot and they were shipped from Ohio.

60 years ago – 1957

 Miss Joyce Krieger, who graduated from Bronson Hospital, passed her State Board Examination at Grand Rapids, and is now in the operating room at Mercy Hospital.  Miss Krieger is a daughter of South Watervliet.

Serving at the Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia, is Wave Claudean I. Cupp, teleman seaman, USN, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Claud V. Cupp, Watervliet.  She has been assigned duty in the Communications Department.

Pvt. Ray L. Smith, Watervliet, is participating in “Operation Ski-Jump” with the 1st Marine Division. Ski-Jump, a large scale maneuver utilizing land, sea and air forces of the Marine Corps and Navy, is taking place at Camp Pendleton, CA and at sea.

30 years ago – 1987

 Gale L. Arent, Watervliet, was selected to receive the E. Earl Wright Community Achievement Award presented during a dinner in his honor at the Kalamazoo College Hicks Center. Arent has been Director of the Kalamazoo County Cooperative Extension Service since 1974.  He was recognized for his contributions toward improving the quality of life in Kalamazoo.

Steven Torres, son of Mr. and Mrs. Kelly Torres, is this week’s “Student of the Week”.  Steven is a fifth-grader at North School.  His teacher reports that he is a model student.  He has excellent work and study habits, as demonstrated by the fact that he always has his work completed.  Steven is an active Cub Scout and has played both flag football and basketball.

St. Joseph Catholic School celebrated Michigan’s Birthday on Feb. 26, 1987 with a cake that was baked by Sue Nilson and Carmella Scaccia and decorated by Cindy Young.

 Pictured is the Lincoln Cabin Inn at Paw Paw Lake.

 North Berrien Historical Museum is always interested in photos, stories or information sharing.

We can be contacted at 269-468-3330 or info@northberrienhistory.org.

From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum

300 Coloma Ave., Coloma, MI


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FAX: 269-463-8329

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