03-09-2017 Tri-City Area History Page

The Paw Paw River Journal

Out of tragedy

Out of tragedy sometimes can come a new beginning.  I know this happened to a young lady who is a friend of ours.  Actually we met her through one of our daughters, and she is a darling girl.  But she had a horrible thing happen in her family.  Have you ever heard the term “suicide by cop?”   This happens when a person is so desperately unhappy that he cannot face life any longer, but doesn’t have the nerve to end it all.  So he confronts the police and causes them to shoot him.  I’ve honestly never heard of a woman doing that, so I refer to the victim as “him.”  It seems to happen once in a while… unfortunately.

Not only does it devastate the family of the victim, but think of what it does to the police involved, who are most reluctant to take someone’s life, they must forever after live with that on their consciences too.  Actually I believe it is probably the most selfish way to “take the easy way out.”   But a person who does it probably never thinks of the devastation that act will cause for so many people.  On the other hand, it’s not for me to judge how much a person is hurting to do such a thing.  Extreme pain can cloud anyone’s judgment!

Anyways, it happened in this young lady’s family, to someone who was very close to her… and in a city some distance from us, so we would not know any of the people involved.  That “suicide by cop” impacted her universe forever, gave her nightmares, and in a way prevented her from living a normal life. Every time she saw a blue uniform thereafter, her heart would sink!  She finally overcame it enough to move away, and go on to school… as such a good student she got scholarships to help her.  And she worked at whatever job she could get all through that time.

Fast forward to the present and into our story comes our old friend Serendipity!  My Webster’s defines serendipity as good luck… something good that comes along accidentally… I sometimes refer to it as the tumblers of the Universe falling into place!

The aforementioned young lady moved to a far western city… the reason?  They offered her a graduate scholarship in her field, which was, appropriately, Family Counseling.  It seems as though people often go into a field like that… one which helps them to exorcise the demons in their own lives.  And she is doing very well.  When she gets out into the professional world, I’m sure she will help people hugely… she will know what she is talking about!

This girl has always worked while she studied, and has become a crackerjack waitress.   She got a job in an upscale restaurant, the same chain she worked at previously.  And when she used her former eatery as a reference, they gave her a glowing recommendation. At the new place customers like her so much she does very well with her tips.  In fact, if she were not so determined to go into her chosen field, she could live a comfortable life on what she is doing right now!

One day recently, she was working and a young black man came in for a take-out order.  At the same time two city policemen were sitting in her area.  They were quietly eating their dinner, and the young man pointed to them.  He said quietly to the girl, “Those policemen there… I’d like to pay for their dinners.  They protect us all, and they have been having a rough time lately.”  He left enough money to cover their tab and walked out with his order.

Meanwhile a third policeman had come in and joined the other two.  He was looking at the menu when our friend approached their table and said, “Did you see that young black man who was at the counter.  The first two both nodded, and she said, “Well, he paid for your dinners.  And now that your friend has joined you, I’d like to pick up his, so enjoy!”

All three were open-mouthed with astonishment, and then they started laughing.  And one of them said, “Well, while our friend is eating, we would like to order a piece of pie… but we insist on paying for that!”

So they went on with their meal, and our friend brought their pie.  When they left, they paid for the pie with a credit card; and much to her surprise, she found there was a $35 tip for her.  And she was even more astonished to find by their plates each policeman had left a five dollar bill for her.  That put a financial glow on the rest of her afternoon.  And I might add a glow within her also.

Think that’s all to the story?  No, there’s more!  Our friend had a bear of a professor in her graduate school class on Psychology.  Every student had to give a presentation.  For hers, our friend gave a talk on “paying it forward”… the story of the generous policemen.  She said her prof almost never gave out As.  But she got an A on her speech!!!!

Think that’s all there is now?  Well, let me add a little more!  Just suppose… let’s suppose that the old serendipity is still working.  What if those policemen liked their lunch so much they start coming back to that restaurant regularly to eat?  And suppose they start bringing their friends.   And what if there is among them a nice, young, single man… and he sees our friend and asks her out!  Well… anything is possible!

If the old serendipity is still working!

Nobody knows what could happen as we weave golden threads into the tapestry of our lives wherever we may be living them.

Coloma Library News

St. Pat’s Book Sale

and Story Hour

The library will have a book sale from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 11. You don’t want to miss this HUGE sale! The library will remain open during the sale.

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the library will have a special Story Time at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 11. All children are welcome, there is no sign-up or fee for this event. Call the library at (269) 468-3431 with any questions.

Story Hour

Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Join Miss Amy for a story, craft and song time. Story Hour is a free weekly program for toddlers and preschool aged children, it does not require sign-up.

Read with Spirit

The library will be offering a program for children to read to Spirit, a certified therapy dog, on Wednesdays from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Children may sign-up for a 15-minute slot by stopping in at the front desk or calling the library at 468-3431. Reading to therapy dogs is a fun way for children to build reading confidence and fluency.

Book Club

The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, March 16 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Loving Frank” by Nancy Horan.  Generally, depending on demand there are titles available for check-out at the front desk. The book club regularly meets every other Thursday and is always looking for new members.

Baby and Me Program

The library will be offering a “Baby and Me” program on Fridays at 10:30 a.m. beginning on March 24 and continuing through April 28. This program is for babies, young toddlers and their parents/caregivers. Join Miss Holly for a short story, interactive play and songs as well as an opportunity to introduce babies to the library. If you have any questions please call the library at 468-3431.

Watervliet District Library News

Story Hour:

Wed. 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. &

Thurs. 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

This class is offered for ages 3 – 5. Join us for stories, crafts, show-and-tell and snacks every week through the end of April.

Yoga every Monday morning at 9:00 and Wednesday evening at 7:00

Teen Table Project for March

Teen Tech is on the Table! Pick up a tech challenge sheet; complete the tasks to be entered into $20 Amazon gift card prize.

In Stitches, Knitting Group:

Friday, March 10, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.

Who wants to sit and knit all by themselves? Bring yourself and your latest project to the library’s community room, for an always entertaining “group knit-together”.

Wine & Canvas Art Party with Lori Ehlke:

Thursday, March 16, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Sign up for a bit of the (sparkling) bubbly and create a masterpiece! Lori Ehlke will share her many skills with the participants during her amazing Art Party. The cost is $30/person; pre-registration is required. Call 463-6382 to register.

WDL’s Third Monday Book Club: March 20, 7 – 8 p.m.

Check out your copy of the March pick, The Couple Next Door, and hold on to your seat. Goodreads calls this Shari Lapina novel, “fast paced and addictive.” Join us on March 20 and let us know if you agree. A thriller of a book awaits!

Adult Coloring Class:

March 27, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Last Monday of every month – Thank goodness we can finally admit that coloring is fun! Join us in a relaxing evening of creativity with colored pencils and paper. Background tunes and snacks will help set the mood. Come prepared to sit back and unwind! All supplies are provided. Already caught the coloring bug? Feel free to bring your own!

 Here is a photo of June Benson working at the soda fountain in Scott’s Drug Store.

 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 MI


100 years ago – 1917

Tuberculosis takes the life of our very special Mrs. Ilah Ryno Canifield. Her kindly disposition was a pleasure to all her acquaintances.

Officers elected to the Clover Leaf Club for the ensuing year: Miss Belle Carter, Mrs. Cora Silhanek, Miss Margaret Miller, Miss Dorothy Baker, Mrs. Alice Baker, Mrs. S. Elizabeth Miller and Mrs. Grace Shoup.

There will be an old-fashioned dance at Bunker’s Opera House for the Rebekah Fund; 50-cents a couple.

60 years ago – 1957

Coloma’s mayor has been paired with Woodland as part of Mayor’s exchange day.  Governor G. Mennen Williams paired all cities.

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Sutter became parents of a daughter, Kathleen Alice.

The city commission voted to raise the salary of the mayor from $50 to $100. Public Works Superintendent Jack Stohl will attend a conference on sewage treatment plants.

A talent program staged by the students of the Boyer School will highlight the Boyer PTA meeting. Ed Scheffler is in charge.

Coloma Methodist and Congregational churches participate in the World Day of Prayer.

Dairy Queen opening – Free cones to children on opening day.

30 years ago – 1987

The City of Coloma will again turn green for the annual St. Patrick’s Day events. You may enjoy the run, the parade and the corned beef and cabbage dinner at the K of C Hall.

No Blarney! It’s a time for Savin’ O’ the Green at Nancy’s Furniture.

Exercise classes now forming at Vi Shafer School of the Dance. Each 1-hour exercise class fee is $2.00.

Virgil Dorstewitz, 71, owner of Tru-Point Products died after a brief illness. He was a charter member of the Coloma Lions and Twin City Camera Club. He is survived by his children, Robert, Michael, Edward and Nancy and sister Wavia.


100 years ago – 1917

Alterations have been practically completed in the buildings at the L.P. Walker brick yard property, recently acquired by the new Hartford Bituminite Company, and they are now ready to receive machinery that will be set in motion upon the launching of Hartford’s newest industry – the manufacture of water meter discs and pump valves from a composition of marl as a substitute for hard rubber.

The home talent play, “A Day on the Lawn” was repeated at the opera house last Friday evening to an audience which filled the theater. In offering “A Day on the Lawn,” Messrs. Reeves and Yeckley provided one of the most popular home talent plays Hartford has seen in years.

75 years ago – 1942

The Hartford Garden Club has extended an invitation to the public to attend the entertainment program which is to follow its annual Family Night banquet. H.J. Cawthorne, M.D. assisted by Collins Gillespie will show his colored films which he has entitled, “The Rhododendron Trail.”

Five Hartford men are to be selected to leave Van Buren County, March 27, according to Charles Wade, clerk of the draft board. Those from Hartford who are scheduled to leave this month are Robert Lamb, Myron Salnave, James Podojil, Marion Boze and Albert Thornton.

At a meeting of the Hartford Woman’s Club with Mrs. Milton Weed on Tuesday afternoon, Mrs. Alice Hurry was appointed chairman of the defense housing committee for Hartford. While the details of this work are not definite, they will be outlined by the safety committee of the State Federation of Women’s Clubs.

50 years ago – 1967

The Hartford junior band, directed by Leslie Van Wagner, won a first division rating Saturday in a district music festival at Fairplain Junior High School. The Hartford senior band will go to Galien on Saturday, March 11 to compete in a district festival for senior bands. Each band is rated by four judges on a required number, selected numbers and sight reading. Winning a first division rating in a district festival entitles a band to enter state competition.

Local Blossom Queen candidates will model clothes at a style show to be held March 14 at Galati’s east of Hartford. Mrs. Arthur Loomis is chairman of the event which will be sponsored by Hartford Blossomtime Organization.


90 years ago – 1927

H.W. Whitaker, railway mail clerk on the Pere Marquette, has taken a lease of the A.N. Woodruff residence on Elm Street and will move his family here from Chicago.

The new hammer-mill feed grinder recently purchased by the Watervliet Milling Company has arrived and Manager F.W. Emerson says they hope to have it in operation at the plant by April 1, 1927. The new mill will grind feed much finer than the old process of grinding that has been in use.

B.G. Haskell is installing a bathroom and fixtures at his residence on Elm Street. E.C. Johns has the plumbing contract and Frank Enders will build the septic tank for him.

60 years ago – 1957

Miss Sandra Bullard, 14, Watervliet, has been selected to represent the Watervliet High School on the 1957 Bobbie Fashion Board. Miss Bullard will attend a special luncheon-meeting of the Board at the Sheraton-Blackstone Hotel in Chicago. She will discuss her fashion interests with teenage girls from other Midwest communities, and will view a fashion show sponsored jointly by the Formfit Company and American Girl Magazine.

Frank Horton, EPRSN, U.S. Navy, left for his base at Norfolk, Virginia after spending a week in Watervliet with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Dwight Horton. Frank is stationed aboard the destroyer, Stickell, which returned to the states on Feb. 18, 1957 after duty in the Mediterranean.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Demske are the proud parents of their baby boy, Larry Allen, born Mar. 9, 1957 weighing 6 pounds 9 ounces.

30 years ago – 1987

Student of the week of Mar. 18, 1987 is Ryan VanNiel, a 7th-grader at WHS. Ryan is quite active in sports and plays on the 7th-grade football and basketball teams during the school year. He also plays organized baseball in the summer. Ryan is on the Honor Roll and enjoys helping out wherever he can.

Ryann Lynn Eberhard, was among the top 10 blue ribbon winners in a gymnastics competition held in Holland. This was Ryann’s first competition. She is 9- years-old.

Watervliet Public Schools signed its fourth partnership on Mar. 15, 1987. The ‘Partnership for Education’ program is designed to utilize educational and civic resources within the school district. The signing with the Waffle House was in recognition of that business’ involvement with the schools in participating in fundraisers, working in co-op programs and hiring students and graduates for its workforce.