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 info@northberrienhistory.org. 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 info