02-27-2020 Tri-City Area History Page

CIRCA 1939… pictured is 1-year-old Lindy Smith being held by his grandfather, Oscar Smith. The photo was taken at his grandfather’s farm north of Watervliet. The 56 acres Oscar farmed was owned by Charles N. Stevens.

The Paw Paw River Journal

Anyone for hugs? I used to see guys who lost their lifelong companion going around and collecting warm embraces from the ladies they knew. And I always wondered if there’s something about being alone that causes that. Well, I found out when I was left without my Chief Accountant, I felt what they felt. It’s a sort of loneliness, a longing for human touch. In fact, I learned a lot of things about being alone. When you are happily married, you don’t realize how many times in a day you touch each other. From the time you get up and help each other with some little chore, until you go to bed and kiss each other good night. Human beings, that is most of us, touch each other many times in a day. And we used to go to sleep touching each other… even just maybe a foot. When I was a student at Western I was taking a course in Engineering Drawing. This was the coute le vec of drafting courses. It was taught by an old professor named Fred Huff. Yes, he was a curmudgeon… would accept nothing but the best work a student could do. Did I ace his course? You bet! I always liked drawing and it came easy for me. Guess I got that from my dad. Not so with math and science. He used to walk around while we were working at our drafting tables, or he would be sitting on a high stool that overlooked the room, and he would talk. His favorite topic was advice for a good marriage. He said, “Most of you guys are married. And you should appreciate what your wives do to help you get an education. Sometime when she’s working in the kitchen, and maybe she bends over putting a roast in the oven… when you go by her, give her a little pat just to let her know you are aware of her!” I never forgot those sessions with Fred Huff. In fact one summer we had to stay out in Pennsylvania to help Aunt Hope. She had just gotten out of the hospital and was diabetic. We stayed there and stayed there, and no end in sight when we could get back to Michigan. Marion was getting desperate to see our kids and play Holly Hobby in her house. I was writing in my journal and Aunt Hope was lying on the couch trying to get her thoughts collected. I went in the kitchen where Marion was working. When I went by her she was bent over and I patted her on the rear. She stood up and burst into tears. I thought, well, that didn’t turn out like Fred Huff said it would, as I tried to comfort her. And she said, “Oh, Bud, what will we ever do? I can’t stay out here while you go back to Ann Arbor to teach!” Well we solved it by teaching a young neighborly housewife to give Aunt Hope her shots and fix meals for her. All the years I was teaching I had to be very careful about hugs. A male teacher must be like Caesar’s wife… above reproach. There were times when my girl students needed a hug… I just couldn’t give it to them. I never went further than patting them on the shoulder. And I think they sensed my sympathy. When I was first teaching I had one student who wanted more than that. She even went so far as to plan a class hay ride. Then she asked me if I could chaperone it! I could see her grand design to get me into the hay! I was conveniently so busy I had no time for that! Years later I was teaching at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor. I had an AP course in literature and writing. Those students were high-power and headed for universities. One day I had my kids writing, the door open, and I heard a knock. There was one of my girl students from the year before. I motioned for her to come in and she came right to me and wrapped her arms around me! My kids looked up, startled. I had to peel her off like a Band-Aid! And she said, “Oh, Mr. Davis, I just wanted to tell you that you prepared me well for the classes I’m taking this year!” Her enthusiastic greeting was certainly not my fault, but I was embarrassed anyway! I think those rules have relaxed a little, now that I have reached, definitely reached, the pinnacle of old age. It is easier to get and to give hugs. I don’t have to be politically correct. In fact, I try not to be. My only restriction on hugs is that I don’t want to get a cold. If that happens it can slide into bronchitis… and that’s serious for me. So, when I meet and greet a girl I know well, or if we are parting, and I’m not sure about proper protocol… I might say to the damsel in question, “Do you give hugs?” They almost always smile and hold out their arms! You know as well as I do, this world is fraught with problems! And giving a few hugs is not going to solve everything. But we really could use more good will. Besides, there are all these old fossils running around, hoping some nice girl will give them a hug. No, they’re not ugly old frogs waiting to be turned into a handsome prince. They are just old geezers trying to make it through to the end of the story where the plot has had some ugly turns. They are trying to weave a few more threads into the Golden Tapestry of Life in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River!

Coloma Library News St. Patrick’s Day Book Sale The library’s giant St. Patrick’s Day book sale is Saturday, March 14 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The bookstore boasts an extensive collection including print and media in a variety of formats. Purchases support literacy programs in the library. Tax Season The library has 1040 instruction booklets available for the public. Staff can show patrons how to locate forms for printing from both federal and state websites. Black & white copies of forms are 10 cents per page. Pre-K Story Times Miss Alicia will host Story Times Tuesday mornings at 10:30 a.m. These interactive story times also include a craft activity. Registration is not required to participate.

Yoga Basics for Adults 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. 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; register by 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. Stop by the Coloma Public Library to learn how the Census impacts residents. Book Club The Coloma Public Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, March 5 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is I Miss You When I Blink by Mary Laura Philpott. 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.

Watervliet Library News 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! Teen Table Projects – February Friendship Bracelets – Make them, wear them, and don’t forget to share them! 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. STEM Kit Programs Snap Circuits – LEGO Robotics – Little Bits Electronic Inventions STEM kit programs designed for small groups to work together to make an endless number of inventions. New groups are set up with participant’s schedule in mind. Anyone 8 years and up that is interested can sign up at the desk. Story Hour Story Hour for ages 3 – 5 is on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. and Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. (choose one) for the months of October to April. Picture books, crafts & fun designed to inspire the love of reading! Yoga Mondays 9 – 10 a.m.; Wednesdays 7 – 8 p.m.; Fridays 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.; Chair Yoga – Wednesdays 6 – 6:30 p.m.


100 years ago – 1920 Village Election is March 8. On the Citizens Ticket: Ira G. Leedy, William W. Hocker, Smiley W. Hamilton and Lowell S. Guy. On the Union Ticket: William N. VanDerveer, Edward Z. Stewart, Charles E. Coburn and Arvine S. Miller. Harry DeFields will move his barber shop and lunch room from the Bunker building to the vacated Enders Cash Store. He plans to install a soda fountain and carry a line of candies and cigars. 60 years ago – 1960 Coloma High School dramatics club performed “By the Sea” during the Century Review. The program was held in the school auditorium. Tom Durfee wrote and directed the show. The citizens’ advisory committee has been working with the Coloma school board to obtain land for a new high school building. The Coloma Lions club collected $71 at their White Cane fund drive. This exceeded President Harvey Kibler’s expectations. Coloma has been paired with Honor, Michigan for mayors exchange week. Julie Mastri, Jennie Brown and Judy Louzensky will enter the Michigan State University Alumni Distinguished Scholarship Award contest. 30 years ago – 1990 Mr. Stephen Upton, President of Whirlpool Foundation, has awarded $36,000 to the Paw Paw Lake Youth Soccer League. This grant is to be used toward the F.O.P. Youth Sports Park east of the Coloma I-94 exit. We Asked You… “Should the City and Township police departments consolidate?” Lisa Sternaman thinks they should remain separate. Carol Evans, Lillian Stone, Merle Dowling and Jeff Haus say, “Yes.” Coloma Student Council will sponsor a blood drive at the High School. Mrs. Oderkirk’s 7th grade AWARE students wrote Christmas letters to President Bush. With the help of Mr. Ernie Guy, personal friend of the President, the letters were delivered. The President responded with a hand written note. 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 Monday the F.W. Hubbard department store shipped five and a half dozen multi-colored baskets made by Hartford Indians to a big furniture store at Dayton, Ohio. It was during the recent furniture exposition at Grand Rapids that a lady buyer for a large Dayton furniture house spied an Indian basket on the arm of a lady whom she met. The lady purchased the basket at the F.W. Hubbard store in Hartford. The next train brought the buyer to Hartford and within a few minutes she had purchased all of the baskets at the Hubbard store. A special meeting of the Ladies Library Association is to decide the advisability of making the library a public library. 75 years ago – 1945 Hartford firemen were called to Rush Lake where fire had broken out in the tenant cottage owned by Harold Kemp, located across the road from the Kemp farm. The building burned to the ground, after the water supply in the fire department truck was exhausted and a volunteer bucket brigade failed to supply enough water to quench the flames. Miss Barbara Quick and Miss Lois Shoemaker of Hartford will be among the 30 nurses of Bronson Hospital who will receive their caps at ceremonies in the Methodist church. Miss Quick and Miss Shoemaker were graduated from the Hartford High School with the class of 1944 and are members of the cadet nurse corps. 50 years ago – 1970 George Washington’s birthday was celebrated a day early at Hartford this year as a young boy chopped down a tree with an axe causing it to strike electric lines and cut off power to Hartford for about 45 minutes. The tree hit a three phase line and caused a short which in turn tripped breakers at the Hartford sub-station shutting off power in the Hartford area. Additional confusion during the power outage was caused when a Chesapeake and Ohio Railway train broke an air hose and came to a stop in Hartford. The 155 car freight blocked all grade crossings in the city for about the same lengthen of time. Telephone service was reported out during the electrical failure. However, General Telephone Co. said the dial tone was the only function that did not operate. The Southwest Hartford Thursday Club will hold its annual day and potluck at the home of Barbara Eiswald. The last meeting was hosted by Esther Geisler. 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 Ronald Kniebes, son of Mr. and Mrs. B.J. Kniebes, Watervliet, is a member of the Western State Teachers Varsity Band. Mr. Kniebes is a freshman and plays in the trumpet section. Mrs. Sophia Carmody was hostess to guests numbering 24. They were served at a 1 o’clock luncheon after which everyone went to her home on Main Street where bridge was a diversion. Maple syrup season is now in full blast. Cold nights and warm days are required to make the sap run good. A temperature of below freezing at night and warm days make ideal weather for the owners of “sugarbushes” who are now seeking to reap their annual harvest. 60 years ago – 1960 Miss Kay Field will take part in the annual Swim Club show given by students of the Ferry Hall School, Lake Forest, IL. The show, a water ballet, will take as its theme the names of various perfumes. Kay will take part in two numbers, Ambush and Golden Autumn. Word has been received that SP-4 Joe Williamson has been playing basketball with the 9th Cav in Korea. Williamson, recently promoted to SP-5, spent an 8-day leave in Yokohama and Tokyo and in March he will take a three week counter intelligence and administrative course. PFC Roger Spencer Jr., who is stationed at Hawthorne Naval Ammunition Base, Nevada, reports that he has been accepted for duty in the commandant’s office as general clerk. 30 years ago – 1990 On Feb. 24, 1990, Sanjay Ravi, Watervliet, was awarded an honorable mention at the annual Michigan Mathematics Prize Awards Banquet for his outstanding performance in this years’ competition. Ravi was one of nearly 20,000 of Michigan’s best high school math students who entered the first round of the competition. He was one of only 100 finalists to be honored at the awards banquet. The Watervliet Fruit Exchange will double its cold storage space this season. According to Manger Raymond Emhoff, the existing 25,000 bushel storage space will be boosted to 50,000 bushels with a new addition to the plant. Richard Sheetz has been selected as the Watervliet District-wide “Student of the Week”. Richard is a first-grade student at South School. He is a good role model, is kind to others, and always puts forth his best efforts. 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