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