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02-14-2019 Tri-City Area History Page

Badt’s Drugs, of Coloma, opened in 1953. Next door was the Mae’s Hamburger Shop, a favorite hangout spot for teenagers at this time. North Berrien Historical Museum is always interested in photos, stories or information sharing. The museum can be contacted at 269-468-3330 or by email to From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

To our Valentines On this very day we celebrate the life and death of a saint in the Catholic Church and other churches too. I’m not exactly sure why, and I found some controversy when I looked it up. It seems he was a priest in the early days of the Roman Empire. And he got into trouble for trying to convert people to Christianity, or perhaps for marrying couples who were not citizens. At any rate, he was martyred (murdered) and thereafter was remembered in Christian circles. The celebration of his day has lived on to present times. When I was a kid in elementary school we passed around valentines, and I can remember feeling heartache for those kids who didn’t get any. The day was associated with hearts and love… which we really didn’t know much about! It still is. Young couples in love wouldn’t want to miss a chance to express their devotion. And greeting card companies surely wouldn’t pass up the chance to sell more product. Back in the day I sent cards to Marion each year. One of the first years we were dating I got her some “Evening in Paris”. It came in a set with perfume and a compact. I just asked her, and she says she still has it… and the box it came in! Anymore, I don’t get out to buy stuff. So I don’t send a Valentine to my Chief Accountant. But I try to let her know that the old Zing is still there. I have done it a few times in this column, so perhaps my writing on the subject today will let her know… and all you ladies who read this… know that the guy in your life thinks you are pretty special too! We don’t always know just how to express it! Marion and I have been married 71 years, but we have known each other for perhaps about 77! She was in the 10th grade and I was in the 11th when we met. She rode the school bus in from Southwest Hartford where her parents were fruit farmers. And she was shy. Well, I guess I was not Mr. Personality back then either. We had a big study hall over the gymnasium in the old Hartford high school. At each end were classrooms. Every hour the teachers took attendance in the classroom and hung a slip listing absentees outside the door. Someone had to pick them up. Marion got that job. Mr. T.R. Nunn, our English teacher, asked her to do it. He was most perceptive, and perhaps thought it would be good for her to get out and about a little. So every day a certain hour she went around and gathered absentees slips to take to the office. I happened to be in study hall that hour, and when she came by I smiled at her. She smiled back. After a few days I started winking at her… she winked back!!!!! Somehow we even got placed next to each other in the study hall one period. Not much studying got done thereafter. We got together at school dances, games, and at Clark’s drugstore. This is where kids gathered at noon, and after games. Marion always called her folks, and someone would come in to pick her up. I’m sure they must’ve seen me lurking in the background! But she couldn’t go on car dates until she was 16. That winter before her birthday she went into the hospital for an appendectomy. I wanted to go to Benton Harbor to visit her in Mercy Hospital. I asked my dad if I could use the car. When I told him what I had planned, he said, “Would you like to take her some flowers?” Would I ever!!!!! So he fixed me a beautiful little bouquet in a vase. I took it along, found her room, and there she was, covers up to her chin… a little pale, and visiting with her mom. I felt awkward, sort of as though I were all hands and feet. We made small talk, and I could tell by the way she looked at me the flowers were a hit. She still has the vase. Thus our grand romance began. As I look back on it now, I find something interesting. We were both relatively unknown… just a sophomore and a junior. When our names were linked, we hit the gossip column in our school paper, The Shadow. This gave us a sort of cachet, or validity. It marked our entrance into high school society. Didn’t realize it at the time, but people were talking about us!!!! Well, that’s the way we met and started a relationship that has endured ever since. Dear Readers, I’m sure each of you who have a significant other also has a story about how you met. This is a special day today. Why don’t you sit down with that one person, if they are available, and reminisce about that time. Or if not available, sit down with the family or a friend and tell them about it. Or if you are a loner, get together with friends and reminisce! This is the day for it! And I don’t care whether you remembered to send him/her a Valentine or not. Doesn’t matter! This could turn out to be the best special day you have had in a while. It can’t help but tighten the bond that holds you together. I know, I know, we are born alone and we die alone. One of our daughters says she thinks in the grand scheme of things our life right now is the hardest part. Interesting thought! I believe as we travel along the way we need all the help we can get to make it through the trials and tribulations of our existence… all just part of weaving golden threads into the tapestry of our lives in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River.

Hartford Library News On Tuesday, Feb. 26 the library is holding Pokemon Drop-in from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Hang out with other Pokemon fans and bring your cards. Patrons can play Pokemon on Wii and participate in the scavenger hunt. Monday, March 4, the library is celebrating Dr. Seuss’ Birthday and “Read Across America” with games, prizes and fun. A special new program is “Harry Potter Escape Room” on Tuesday, March 5 from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Put your Harry Potter knowledge to test solving puzzles, riddles and challenges in 30 minutes to escape the room. Don’t forget the Hartford Library has LEGO and STEAM programs every first and third Wednesday of each month. Create a project and get a prize. The Hartford Public Library programs are free for all children. Call 621-3408 with questions.

Watervliet District Library News Teen Table Projects: February Anti-Valentines: Let loose your inner snark and un-celebrate! Sweet Taste-Testing Thursday, February 14 Drop in any time 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and taste test candies from around the world. Can you guess its origin? Does it please the palette? Pick up a score card at the desk & be the judge! Participants will be entered into a drawing to receive their own box of chocolates. Third Monday Book Club Feb. 18, 7 – 8 p.m. Great books, fabulous conversations! Ask for your copy at the front desk. This month: The Martian by Andy Weir. Yoga Monday 9 – 10 a.m.; Wednesday Chair Yoga 6 – 6:45 p.m.; Wednesday 7 – 8 p.m.; Friday 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Please call 463-6382 for more information on any Watervliet Library activity.

Coloma Library News Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, February 21 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins. Generally, depending on demand there are titles available for check-out at the front desk. The book club is always looking for new members. Stop in to the library or call 468-3431 for information.


100 years ago – 1919 Every man who is interested in the welfare of Coloma is requested to be present at the Methodist church for the meeting of the Coloma Commercial Club. The Coloma Theatre presents: “The Claw,” staring Clara Kimball Young. “Six Shooter Andy” is a comedy drama starring Tom Mix. Ford – the Universal Car – Geisler & Friday of Coloma: Runabout $500.00, Touring Car $525.00, Truck Chassis $550.00. Prices F.O.B. Detroit 60 years ago – 1959 Earle R. Smith was appointed manager of the Hardware Company. Earle is a nephew of the late Chas. C. Smith and has been in the business with his uncle for 18 years. Coach Ted Lenhardt seeks a second win for the Comets as they take on Hartford on the Indian court. The Mid-Week Union Lenten Services will take place at the First Congregational Church. Other churches participating are: Coloma Methodist, St. Paul’s E. & R. and Zion E.U.B. A talk of Alaska was given by Mrs. Roger Carter during the School of Missions at the Methodist church. A cooperative supper preceded the study. 30 years ago – 1989 The resignation of Bob Irvin as Athletic Director and football coach was accepted by the Board of Education. He has been in that position since 1981, replacing Ted Blahnik. We Asked You… Are you coping with “Old Man Winter?” Young Stacy Raines plays with snow and builds the Taj Mahal. Community Hospital held its annual meeting. David DeFields was elected to the Hospital Board of Directors. Re-elected were Milton Stibal, Ronald Postelli and Joyce Tutton. Winter Festival King and Queen were chosen. They are Wesley Fikes and Sherri Miller.

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 – 1919 Wearing two six months service stripes on his sleeve, signifying a year’s service overseas with the American expeditionary forces, Corp. Alger Conkey, son of Mr. and Mrs. L.L. Conkey arrived home early this morning with an honorable discharge from the army. At the Hartford Woman’s Club meeting it was decided to give a reception to the returned soldiers and the president appointed a committee to act upon it. The program with Mrs. Garrison, as chairman, consisted of piano playing by Miss Beatrice Oppenheim; Mrs. Mella Sjinner read a paper, “Public Domain”; Mrs. May Penwell read “The Work of Reclamation Service”; Mrs. Marie Wilson read a paper written by Mrs. Leona Spaulding on “Scientific Farming”. Miss Marcella Goodspeed, accompanied by Mrs. Bennett, sang a solo. 75 years ago – 1944 Next week at the high school Hartford residents are due for an unusual treat when the girls’ glee club presents the manless operetta “The Beauty Contest”. Miss Ilah Decker, director of the production, is looking forward to a fine performance by the members of the cast. The Garden Club, meeting at the home of Mrs. Belle Wood, listened to an interesting gardening discussion of chemical gardening presented by Mrs. Mary Rouse. The Hartford Woman’s Club met at the library with Mrs. Wm. Watson and Mrs. Katherine Wolffe as hostesses. “Michigan Artists” was presented by Mrs. Watson and Mrs. Alice Hurry read an article on Michigan authors. An appeal was made to the club by the county nurse for cod liver oil. 50 years ago – 1969 The last scheduled meeting conducted by the Hartford-Lawrence school merger study committee is at the Hartford High School cafeteria. Representatives from the River Valley school board, a merged district in south Berrien County, will present the effects of merger on a school district and the community. Representatives of the Lawton school board will discuss the results of their failed merger.

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 – 1929 Troop 61, Watervliet Boy Scouts of America, is sponsoring a Father-Son Banquet to be held in the school gymnasium. This banquet is open to every father and son in and around Watervliet. Attendance will not be confined to scouts or sons of scout age. Mrs. Tom Schoonover was pleasantly surprised on Feb. 27, 1929 when several family members and friends came by to celebrate her 57th birthday anniversary. It was also the 14th birthday anniversary of her granddaughter, Mary Grant. The ice is 16-1/2 inches thick on Paw Paw Lake, all the ice companies are happy. 60 years ago – 1959 Mr. and Mrs. Richard Woodruff are the very happy parents of their new baby girl, Janet Katherine born Oct. 28, 1958 and weighed 8 pounds 9 ounces. Midshipman first class Otto J. Helweg, Watervliet, is a June 1958 graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy. Helweg was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy after receiving his Bachelor of Science degree and will report to San Francisco, CA for his first duty.

30 years ago – 1989 Army Pvt. 1st Class Charles E. Frazier, Watervliet, has arrived for duty in West Germany. Frazier is an infantryman with the 6th infantry. The soldier is a 1987 graduate of WHS. Melissa Oakley has been chosen Watervliet’s ‘Student of the Week’. Melissa is a second-grade student at South Elementary School. She enjoys her Brownie activities as well as her school activities and is a very conscientious, responsible student who is willing to help others. The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution has selected a local woman as one of 1989’s Good Citizens. Chantelle Brewer is a senior at WHS and plans on attending the University of Michigan. The students are selected for their outstanding qualities of service, leadership, dependability and patriotism. This award is one of the most prestigious awards the DAR bestows. 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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