02-20-2020 Tri-City History Page

Studio photo of Lewis Umphrey as a toddler with a dog … does anyone remember posing for studio photos? Photo taken by Austin’s Studio of Watervliet. If so, please contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330, office@northberrienhistory.org, 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

Pearl diving

Back when I was in the Air Force, when we were on KP and doing the dishes, we called that pearl diving. For me the name has stuck and I still call it that. In basic training we had to take turns on KP. Just no getting around it! Now in civilian life I had to go pearl diving at certain times. And I feel so lucky that we had girls who were able and willing to take on the dishes chores as they grew up enough to do it! So, why don’t we have a dishwasher? Marion has always loved antique dishes and you just can’t do them in an automatic dishwasher… it will blast the designs right off from them! That’s how they get all the gunk off your pots and pans. Just check the market on antique dishes! They are not worth what they were formerly… because many young people are unwilling to go pearl diving. When we were first married we lived in an apartment on N. Center Street in Hartford. It was upstairs in a big old place called the Gleason house. We had spent weeks cleaning, painting, and if I say so myself it was a cute and stylish place. Marion worked at Dr. Carl Boothby’s office on South Center, and I was driving to college classes at Western. In many ways it was an idyllic beginning to our long married life. We had a circle of friends and would get together to play dominoes or cards. Just one little problem… after a few months Marion started having bouts of morning sickness. We didn’t realize it initially, but it was the first announcement of the upcoming arrival of a beautiful daughter, Debbie, and that she would add whole dimensions to our lives for the next 71 years. Back in those days I could pearl dive with the best of them, but how many dishes will two people use at a meal? We needed better wheels, so we took stock of our finances and decided to buy a car… a new one! There were still shortages from the recent war. We got on the list of a new Ford dealer in town. Rich Rademacher had just started his dealership in the former Clare Leach garage on Main Street across from the park. I owned a ‘39 Chevy from back when I had just come home from the war. In fact, I was the third owner… the first being our biology teacher, Ernest Froehlich. He sold it to a friend’s uncle. Ron Weston was later to marry my sister. She said she could remember when Ron would borrow his uncle’s car. They would park on a hill and listen to the radio until the battery ran down. Then they would coast down the hill to get it started again! Anyway, I bought it from Ron’s uncle, and I drove it until after we were married. It was a cute brown two-door and I loved it. Top speed was 71 mph. I know because Howard Bishop, who married Marion’s sister Dolores, had a black four-door ‘39 Chevy. We ran them off one night on a country road. His Chevy would do 72 mph, and he just slowly pulled away from me! Our new Ford finally came in… a coupe with a back seat. We loved it. I sold my Chevy to a friend and recouped part of the cost of the new car. The first trip we took in it was to Florida. We got married in October, and when Christmas vacation came around at WMU, Marion’s folks were going down there. They invited us to come down and stay with them. What’s to refuse in an offer like that? We had a ball! No responsibilities! We practically lived on the beach… sun and sand and two people in love. Just one little problem. Marion was starting to have an uneasy stomach in the morning. And that’s how our eldest daughter, Deb, announced her future arrival! All the years thereafter have blended into burnished golden memories. We wound up with three girls and a boy. I lucked out there on the pearl diving! All three girls willingly helped do the dishes. Rob helped with the yard work. And we did some guy things. One time when he was in his early teens, I told him I thought we needed to have a talk. I said, “Rob, you know we live in a houseful of women. And sometimes you have to walk a little softly if they are having a bad day.” He said, “I know, Dad, I already ran into that!” And so all those years! Golden memories! I’d do them again in a heartbeat! And we finally found ourselves alone, all the kids grown and out on their own. Just Marion and me. I was back pearl diving. Actually, Marion washed the dishes and I dried. So life went on for some years. Before my time there was a popular kid story about a boy who runs away and joins the circus. That seemed to be the dream of every kid who wanted to leave home and go on his own. Toby Tyler was the boy’s name and there were several books about his adventures. The reason I mention him is because he figures in this story. In the late 1990s Marion fell and injured her hip. It really began to bother her, so we found a good surgeon and she went into the hospital to have it replaced. This put her out of business for a while, and now I was doing all the dishes. I was pearl diving one day and sort of feeling sorry for myself. I said to her, “I feel like Toby Tyler… I’d almost like to run away and join the circus!” She took me seriously and before I knew it, she was back out washing dishes and I was drying again. Now I don’t have to do any dishes anytime, and I’d gladly go back to feeling like Toby Tyler if I could just have my Chief Accountant with me. But we have woven those golden threads into the Great Tapestry of Life for all time. And I am left with memories, precious memories, of our life in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River. Every generation of young people thinks they have invented it all. But I know that we are the ones who really did… and wasn’t it glorious?

Watervliet District Library News

Family Movie Night Friday, Feb. 21 – 6 p.m. Once a month, start the weekend off with a treat! Movies! Popcorn! Crafts! This month – Trolls Pinteresting Feb. 24 – 6:30 to 8 p.m. Arts & crafts for grown-ups held the last Monday of the month. This month – Chinese Knotted Bracelet Reading Delights, Adult Reading Program ends Feb. 29 Two Grand Prizes: $100 Harding’s Gift Card. Adults read two books per each entry. Free eats once a week, on the library! Since the program is all about food participants can bring in their favorite family recipe and be part of the WDL Scrap Cook Book, too. 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 meet the goal with donations, and have fun at the same time! Stop by the library and look at their window – pick an envelope and help them out!

Coloma Public Library News Tax season

The library has 1040 instruction booklets available for the public. They can also show anyone how to locate forms for printing from both federal and state websites. Black & white copies of forms are 10 cents per page. Yoga Basics for adults Starting Tuesday, Feb. 25, Vicki Shoemaker will teach a Yoga Basics class for adults in the Coloma Public Library Community Room from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on select Tuesdays. Additional class sessions will be March 3, 10, 24, 31 and April 7, 14, and 28. Pre-registration is required before each session due to class size limitations. Registration deadline is 5 p.m. the Monday before class. There is no fee to participate. Class attendees must be willing to sign a health waiver. Call 269-468-3431 or stop by the Help Desk to register or for more information. Census The 2020 Census will start in mid-March. Participating in the Census is important to the local economy. Coloma Public Library can show anyone how the Census impacts them. Book Club The Coloma Public Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom. This title is a sequel to Kitchen House originally published in 2010. Copies of both titles are available for checkout at the front desk. New members are always welcome. Homework help Coloma Public Library provides kids with free online access to Learning Express Library. Learning Express can help students with math and English language arts. These resources can be accessed from home or library computers. Stop in for more details.


100 years ago – 1920 Influenza ban is lifted – Dr. W.T. Bertrand, health officer, believes that the high tide in the spread of the disease has passed. The Coloma Theatre showing on Saturday – Peggy Hyland in Cowardice Court; Admission 18 cents, war tax 2 cents. A penalty of 5 per cent will be added on all township taxes not paid before the books are turned over to the county treasurer. Wm. N. VanDerveer The Christian Science services are held every Sunday morning at 10:45. The lesson subject is “Mind.” 60 years ago – 1960 Fireman Homer Umphrey fights the fire at the Duard Smith home. Len Dolezan assists. The home is consumed after the chimney collapsed. Currently, the Smiths are staying with Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Lepker on West Logan Street. Washington School PTA will bring in a topical fluoride program for students. Mrs. William Semand and Mrs. Francis Buck head the program. Bill Muenchow, assistant chief of police, is recovering from an attack of hepatitis. Joe Querfurth is substituting for him on the police force. Funeral services for Mrs. Elizabeth Reinhardt were held at the Salem Lutheran Church. Pallbearers were six grandsons of the deceased – Carl Jr., Gerhardt, Walter Jr. and Robert Reinhardt along with Donald and Harold Kasischke. 30 years ago – 1990 Many American flags are flying in Baker Park. Presidents Day honors the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Richard Moss, 8th grader, won the Coloma Junior High Geography Bee. Second place went to Gavin Dewey. A 30th wedding anniversary party was given for Pete and Marge Mannino. The party was held at the American Legion Post. Seniors selected to the Lakeland Conference Academic All-Conference Team are: Aaron Denbow, Kelly Moran, Jeff Nelson and Wendy Stampfly. Cassandra Spaulding was elected Public Relations Chairman of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority at The University of Michigan. 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 At a meeting last Thursday evening the Hartford board of education voted to abandon temporarily the proposal to call a special bonding election for the erection of a new school building. Even a proposal to erect a modest addition to the present building and install a new heating system is now estimated at $80,000. A dancing party will be given at the town hall on Friday evening with music by a six piece orchestra from Kalamazoo. This orchestra is gaining a reputation as one of the most popular in this section of the state. Moses Cullom has purchased the Charles E. Anderson house in the northeast part of town, and will move to the village. Mr. Cullom has been working the Mrs. Lee Druflinger farm southeast of town. 75 years ago – 1945 The Hartford Woman’s Club observed a patriotic day at the home of Mrs. Harry Bowman. A short history of the flag of the United States was given by Mrs. Richard Bailey. This was followed by a talk on the flags of our allies, given by Mrs. Walter Markilliea. She also gave a brief sketch of the Red Cross flag and that of the four freedoms. The Hartford Garden Club met at the home of Mrs. Harry Bowman where Mrs. Paul Day read an article on “How to Prepare Fruits and Vegetables for Quick Freezing.” The next meeting will be at the home of Mrs. Warren Clark. Mrs. David Friday was hostess the Southwest Hartford Thursday Club. “Religion in the News” was the roll call topic, and Mrs. James Thar read a paper on “Religion of India”. Members participated in a discussion led by Mrs. Al Schriner. 50 years ago – 1970 An adult class in oil painting will be offered beginning Feb.26 at the art room of the high school. Persons wishing to enroll may call 621-3191. Students are asked to bring painting supplies and a canvas to the first meeting. A group of Hartford queen contestants are preparing for a style show. Their clothes will come from MI-Ladies Dress Shop. The style show will be held at the high school cafeteria. Mrs. Arthur Loomis is chairman of the event which will carry out the theme “Fashions of Yesterday and Today”. 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 The Watervliet Milling Company has been trucking 500 bushels of wheat to their mill here from the Eau Claire elevator. Because of the low market price not enough wheat has been offered locally for milling purposes. The Watervliet High School basketball team won its fourteenth victory of the season on Saturday, Feb. 22, 1930, when they defeated Berrien Springs at the latter place by the close score of 19 – 17. At the auction sale on the Dr. Palmer place, the high price for cows was $75. Heifers sold up to $40 and a team of horses brought $32. Mixed hay sold for $16 per ton in the barn. 60 years ago – 1960 Mr. Warren E. Willmeng, Watervliet, was elected to the board of directors of the Howe Military School Fathers’ Association, Incorporated that was organized in 1959. His son, Joseph, is in the 8th grade at Howe. Cub Scouts and their families of Pack 62 held their annual Blue and Gold Banquet on Feb. 13, 1960, at the North Elementary School. There were over 100 people in attendance. Mr. and Mrs. Fred Allwardt were honored at the Midway Baptist Church on Feb. 15, 1960, for their 25th wedding anniversary. 30 years ago – 1990 The Watervliet Education Association has been awarded the prestigious E. Dale Kennedy Award for outstanding public relations programs by the 108,000 member Michigan Education Association. MEA, the largest school employee union in Michigan, presented the award on Feb. 1, 1990. Jennifer Hicks has been selected as the district-wide “Student of the Week”. Jenny is a second-grade student at South School. She is a model student—always striving to do her best and setting a wonderful example for her peers. Watervliet High School now has a unique way to bring current information into each classroom. Through Jones Intercable’s CNN Newsroom program and their donation of Xpress Xchange, WHS has added new dimension to classroom learning. 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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