02-22-2018 Tri-City Area History Page

The Paw Paw River Journal

Sauntering through the past! Saunter is a verb meaning to stroll, wander aimlessly, or leisurely. Thus it is I want to stroll through the past years I have been writing “The Paw Paw River Journal.” They have been good years. Karl and Annie Bayer provided my first forum for writing. I should mention them, and daughter Amy, Bonnie the computer typesetter gal, whose husband, Ken Bannen, is one of my all time favorite school superintendents! And all the others who make the newspaper go. When I started this column, years back, I knew nothing about newspapers. But I did know about writing and literature. That’s what I was teaching all the years previously. So I felt my way along. And I had some help from local old-timers. When I wanted to dip into Hartford’s past, I could go to Bob McConnell, Leta Benjamin, Charlie “Trapper” Simpson, Bud Colman, Rich Conklin, Larry Olds, Rodney and Mildred Lynch, Lee and Edith Davis (my parents)… when my Dad told me stories, I listened! There were Louis and Minnie Kling (Marion’s parents), Loren Pawling, Historian Sherrill Aberg, and Editor Don Cochrane of the “Hartford Day Spring.” When I was but a wee nipper, I enjoyed his local column called “Around Town & Elsewhere.” I’m sure there are others that I cannot recall… all gone into the dim mists of the past. I miss their advice and storytelling! And the old-timers and not-so-old timers who are still with us: Col. Don Alsbro, Stu Elder, Larry Blyly, Dick O’Hara, Bill Minshall, Arlene Ward, Emma Sefcik, Bev Brooks, William Hansen, David Kline (who published an online newspaper called “The Benton, PA, News”), Tony Meloche, Bill & Jerri Williams, Rod Austin, Connie Hatch (recipe lady out in PA), and more! If I have left anyone out… failing memory! I feel them all peering over my shoulder as I write, in a way. Probably the greatest influence on my writing career is my ever loyal Chief Accountant. Mark Twain’s little daughter Susie once said “Pappa writes books and Mamma expurgates them!” Meaning that the beautiful Olivia Langhorne Clemens kept him from saying things he shouldn’t! My beautiful Marion functions much in the same way, and I depend upon her judgment more than I care to admit. Our children: Deb and Gary, Becky and Jim, Rob, Laurie and Jim have all exerted an influence upon my writing career as have our grandchildren. They have all provided comfort, support, and a lasting influence upon my life and writing. I should mention all the teachers and students I have known over the years. The kids with bright and shining morning faces that have gone through my English classes inspired me to impart a love of storytelling and writing that only boosted my own. I used to require them to write in a daily journal. Then one day in 1977, I decided in all honesty I could only practice what I preached. So I started writing daily! That was 126 journals ago! I admit my journal writing has slacked off a bit now. Some of my columns come from going back through those past scratchings. All of my students have conspired to make me what I am! Until 1999 I wrote all of my columns on the typewriter. Then I either took them to Karl, or sent them in the mail from wherever we were. At this time a momentous happening! I got my first computer! The kids had all been urging me on… join the online generation! And we did! Becky’s Jim-in-law helped set it up and get us online. In only two days I learned to turn it on and off… the rest was up to chance. First time I sent out a message, I got one back from friend Bud Colman. In it he said, “The sky opened up, the clouds parted, and a voice from on high said, ‘Bud Davis is now online!’” I guess some people were really astonished that this old-timer had made the transition! And I could email my column to Karl any time and from anywhere. Now email is old stuff to kids! Walt Whitman, writing poetry about the time of the Civil War said in “There was a Child Went Forth…” that everything we see… everything that happens to us… makes us whatever we are. Now I realize that doesn’t take into account the factor of genetics. But he said: “There was a child went forth every day, and the first object he look’d upon, that object he became.” And, Whitman said that everything became part of that child who went forth every day… and who now goes, and will always go forth every day! That’s us! All of us! Plato said through his character of Socrates, the ancient Greek Philosopher: “The beginning of wisdom is the realization of ignorance.” And sometimes it seems the longer I am at this game, the more there is to learn. One time we were vacationing in Ft. Myers, Florida. An elderly priest said at the church we attended, “We are all like McGregor Boulevard out there (which was under construction)… we should have signs around our neck that say… ‘WORK IN PROGRESS!’ That’s what we are, and I feel privileged that you have been reading this column, giving me feedback, and also providing a forum. In a sense we are all children going forth every day… into a new world. We may not always like what we see, but it is forever interesting, as we weave golden threads into the tapestry of our lives in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River!

Recognize any of these paper mill guys? 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.

Coloma Library News

Read with Spirit Spirit, a certified therapy dog will be at the library on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Children may sign up for a 15-minute slot by stopping in at the front desk or calling the library. Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, March 8 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Perennials” by Mandy Berman. Story Hour returns Story Hour will resume meeting on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. on February 28. Join Miss Amy for a craft, story and song time! Story Hour is for older toddlers and preschool-aged children. It is asked that all children be accompanied and supervised by an adult. There is no sign-up or fee required. Call 468-3431 with questions for any of these activities.

Watervliet District Library News

Sour Grapes of Wrath: A Murder Mystery Thurs., Feb. 22, 5:30–8:00 p.m. The Community Room as the setting for mayhem & murder!? Who done it? Adult Crafting: “Pinteresting” Monday, Feb. 26, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Upcycled book box – Have fun trying out a Pinterest inspired craft, on the library! All supplies provided; sign up required. Zackery – the read to me dog every Saturday thru Spring, 1:30–2:30 p.m. Come meet Zachery – a certified therapy hypoallergenic labradoodle who loves to be read to by kids. Adult Reading Program thru March 3 This year’s theme is: Solve it@Your Library. Anyone 18 years and older is invited to warm up those brain cells with winter reading. 1st prize: Puzzle books; 2nd prize: Brain teasers; 3rd prize: Magnifying glass; Grand Prize Drawing: Everyone who’s read 6 books or more is entered into a drawing for two tickets to the Mendel Center, “Rockin’ Road to Dublin.” Teen Table Projects: February Blind date with a book: Take a chance on book-romance and enter our prize drawing. The lucky winner will receive a bag of Snickers minis! Call the library at 463-6382 with questions on any of these activities.


100 years ago – 1918 The Coloma Theatre – Maclyn Arbuckle in a comedy drama, “The Reform Candidate.” Do not miss the big serial, “The Fighting Trail.” For Your Soldier: toothbrushes, shaving soaps, milk chocolate, cigars, pocket combs, tobacco and smokers’ supplies and stationery; at Scott’s 60 years ago – 1958 Coloma and Allen (in Hillsdale County) are paired for the fifth annual Michigan Week Exchange of Mayors. Governor G. Mennen William is chairman of the event. Our neighbor Watervliet is paired with Fife Lake. Coloma high school band will participate in the annual band festival. This year New Buffalo will host this district event. Band members will make the trip by school bus with their director, George Smart. Principal Victor Wier will also accompany. Darrin Schaer, high school student, has successfully completed the commercial fruit production short course at Michigan State University. Mr. and Mrs. Earl Smith of the Coloma Hardware attended the Michigan Hardware convention. Michigan State Head Football Coach Duffy Daugherty was the speaker. 30 years ago – 1988 City commissioners support the purchase of a new fire truck pumper, but aren’t in a position to finance such a purchase. Maintenance work that must be done in the city shows that there is not money for both projects. Lake Michigan College will present a workshop at Pier School in Coloma. The workshop is designed for adults interested in beginning college. Mrs. Viola Kniebes is volunteering in Chapter I classes at Coloma Middle School North helping students reading below grade level. Chris Wittig is a member of the Lake Michigan College Show Choir that will visit area high schools. Their show is titled “Get The Beat.” Orchards of Coloma (next to LaSalle Federal Savings) Buys of the Week! 1982 Buick Regal $4,395.00; 1986 Escort $4,995.00.

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.; Tues., Wed. & Thurs. 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; and Sat., 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Phone: 468-3431


100 years ago – 1918 February 19 was Kipling day at the Hartford Woman’s Club. A program was given “Life of Kipling” written by Mrs. Zuver and read by Mrs. Chamberlin. A most excellent review of “Kim” by Mrs. Alice Paris and Kipling’s “If” read by Mrs. Dunnington. The coal situation has materially improved in Hartford during the past few days. Ten car loads of coal arrived in this village the last of the week, five of them going to local dealers and five of them being consigned to County Fuel Administrator Edward Finley for distribution in the various towns of the county where coal is most urgently needed. 75 years ago – 1943 The Hartford-Keeler Commercial-Farmer Club entertained the ladies last Thursday evening at a dinner and musical program in the social room of the Hartford Methodist Church. Miss Ilah Decker, music instructor at the Hartford schools, was in charge of the program. The program featured several songs by the high school boys’ quartette composed of Robert Colman, Keith Lightner and Don Rose. Mr. Colman also sang solo selections and Mr. Lightner played several trumpet solos. Miss Else Lightner joined Miss Decker in presenting three piano duet numbers. The Hartford Gleaners will meet at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Conklin on March 6. Potluck supper will be held. The Van Auken Community Club will meet March 5. A white elephant sale will be held at this time, with proceeds going to the Red Cross. 50 years ago – 1968 Would a merger of the Lawrence and Hartford school districts be a good idea? The idea was explored in several meetings between school boards of the two districts and then a group of citizens picked up the ball. A well attended meeting at Lawrence drew a vote of confidence for an expanded study, which was endorsed by Hartford. A similar proposal was advanced a number of years ago, but it was clouded by unresolved questions that it never got off the ground.

Submitted by Librarian Stephanie Daniels at Hartford Public Library from microfilm copies of the Hartford Day Spring. Hours: Mon., Tues., & Wed., 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Thurs. & Fri., 10-5 p.m.; and Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Phone: 621-3408


90 years ago – 1928 Watervliet has an Inauguration Day baby, born March 4, 1928 to Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Shrosbie. He weighed 8 pounds and has been named Alfred Gordon Shrosbie. Richard Rogers, freshman student from Watervliet at Albion College, was one of eight students to be formally initiated into Tau Kappa Epsilon, national Greek letter fraternity. Mrs. Catherine Brevard observed her 88th birthday anniversary at her home in Watervliet on Feb. 6, 1928. A few friends and family were there to help her celebrate. 60 years ago – 1958 Tad Minor of First Methodist Church left Feb. 20, 1958 for New York City and Washington D.C. to study national and world government and the part Christianity plays in them. The trip will be highlighted by visits to the United Nations, the Supreme Court, Capitol Hill and a foreign embassy in Washington. Chris Krieger, popular local constable and an employee of the Watervliet Paper Company for the past 45 years, retired from his active duties at the mill on Feb. 20, 1958. Mr. and Mrs. Donald McIntosh, Watervliet, are the proud parents of their baby boy, Kenneth Andrea, born Feb. 29, 1958 and weighed 8 pounds 1 ounce. 30 years ago – 1988 Miss Richonda Shults, age 15, Watervliet, has been selected as a finalist to compete in the 1988 Miss Michigan National Teen-Ager Pageant. This is not a beauty contest but a scholarship pageant, in which over $40,000 in scholarships and prizes will be awarded. Contestants are students who make good grades in school, are involved in volunteer community service and have shown potential as leaders in school and civic organizations. Kristen Gonzalez has been chosen Watervliet’s Student of the Week. She is 7 years old and in second grade at South Elementary. Her favorite subject in school is math. Marianne LaVanway has taken over the D&D Grill from Don and Darlene Horton. She has renamed the popular Watervliet Main St. coffee shop, The Sidetrack.

Submitted by Sally Q. Gonzalez from files at Watervliet District Library from the Watervliet Record newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon. & Wed., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Tues., Thurs. & Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sat., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Phone: 463-6382


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