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03-28-2019 Tri-City Area History Page

The Paw Paw River Journal

Quo vadis

We are warm… outside, snow swirling about and pelting the windows. Breakfast sounds and smells as we sit in the dining room. I have sausage gravy and biscuits. The Chief Accountant has eggs over medium, bacon, and toast. The coffee is hot and a little bitter. For some reason they have changed blends… a losing proposition. And they have promised they will get back to the previous brand, which has been so excellent. Outside, bitter winter and snow everywhere. On the wall of the dining room, flashing strobe lights, red and blue. The ambulance is here to take someone away. We don’t know who it is… yet! No information available because of privacy laws. We will know as we count noses and see who isn’t here. And I am having some long thoughts. Not downhearted, because as I said we are warm and comfortable. But I can’t help thinking about how we are in a long line… when I was a kid my dad was trying to explain to me the immensity of the country of China. He said, “If all the people in China lined up four abreast and marched into the sea the line would never end!” Boy oh boy, did that impress me! In fact, I’ve never forgotten it. And now I sort of see us all marching four abreast… not into the sea, but off the edge of the earth! We were way back in the line, and as time has passed we are working our way up to the front. It has been a long process, but now we are much closer to the head of the line! And what I’ve been doing is looking back and sort of at the whole process. When I was younger and considered the above thoughts, I would finally come to the conclusion that it was in the future so I won’t worry about it now. Well that ‘in the future’ is now, and I am considering it. First reaction: Maybe I should be more worried than I am. Whenever I get a chance to talk to someone in the religious life, I do it. And I always have something on my mind. It’s a question… Where are we going? I don’t mean right now, I mean eventually. What is it going to be like? No one so far has been able to answer that. Perhaps it’s unfair of me to ask. But I always have to do it. And I had some interesting discussions in the past on that topic. One person was a minister of the Lutheran persuasion. We were at a wedding reception, and he had just married the young couple. Now we were at the bride’s home for a sumptuous feast. The Chief Accountant and I had gotten to the line and filled our plates. We found a table to sit down, which we did. I got coffee and water and we started to eat. It was then I noticed the minister coming through the line. Then he saw us and came over to sit across from us. I was most pleased, because we had talked previously, and evidently he enjoyed it and had more to say. I have found that ministers, priests, and rabbis in the campus ministry are usually very aware. Well, they have to be dealing with all those kids. We enjoyed talking with him that day but I can’t remember getting much new information on the burning question that I always ask… Where are we going? In Latin that is “quo vadis”, or where goest thou? We lived in Ann Arbor for 16 years. I taught at the University of Michigan while I was working on an advanced degree. Then I taught in the public school system for quite a few years. We were involved in campus activities and attended church at St. Mary’s Student Chapel on the campus. So of course we got to know the priests there. One day I asked one of them the question I always ask… Where we going? I got about as good an answer from him as I have heard anywhere. He said he had speculated on the same thing and thought, perhaps after we leave this life it will be much as it was before we came… in a place of perfect comfort, light, and peace. Then he said something that surprised me a little. He recommended that I read some of the writings of Martin Luther on that topic. Well, after all, at one time he was a good Catholic boy. I tried it, but have not found exactly what I’m looking for yet! Buddhists and Hindus say we are looking for, and striving for, perfection. And it will take us perhaps many lives to achieve Oneness with God, or Nirvana, as they call it. One of our daughters says she believes that this life we are in right now is the hard part. Interesting! And I can understand that. An early American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said we are all part of the great oversoul! Our lives are like waves lapping against the shore, and then we go back to the sea again. As we grow older, I keep on asking. And I suspect there is an answer shaping up out there. Perhaps we will only find that answer when we get there. Anything else is within us and has to be nurtured as we weave threads into the golden tapestry of our lives in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River. And it is called Faith!

Coloma Library News

Read with Spirit Spirit, a certified therapy dog visits the Coloma library Tuesday evenings from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Parents may sign up their children to reserve a 15-minute reading slot. Stop in at the front desk or call the library at 468-3431 for more details. Spirit will be on vacation on April 2. Story Hour Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Join Miss Amy for a story, craft and songtime. Story Hour is a free weekly program for toddlers and preschool-aged children and does not require sign up. Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, April 4 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Bitter River” by Julia Keller. The book club regularly meets every other Thursday and is always looking for new members. Call 468-3431 with any questions.

Hartford Library News

“Melted Crayon Art” on Tuesday, April 16 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.; all materials are furnished. Bringing a hand held hair dryer would be helpful. Reservations are needed for participating in this program. Call the library 269-621-3408 or email to reserve a spot. Parents and children are invited to “Family Roller Coaster Construction” on Wednesday, April 17 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Each parent/child team will be given a kit to construct their roller coaster. All supplies are provided and pizza is included. Teams of 2-3 people are allowed. Sign-up is required at least one week in advance.

Holocaust survivor to speak at Watervliet library

Watervliet District Library and Watervliet Public Schools will host Holocaust survivor, author and speaker Irene Miller at 6:30 p.m. April 8 at the library, 333 N. Main St. Miller will share her stories of hardship, struggle and endurance during World War II. Her childhood took her through a Siberian labor camp, near starvation in Uzbekistan, and years in orphanages, eventually creating a home of her own. She is the author of “Into No Man’s Land: A Historical Memoir,” published in 2012. The book describes her harrowing experiences during and after the war. The library will host a book discussion on the book from 7-8 p.m. Monday, one week before her visit. Numerous copies are available for checkout at the library. Miller’s presentation on April 8 is free and open to the public. Copies of her book will be available for purchase at the event.

1930 Coloma Baseball team Some players are identified. If you know any of these players, stop by the NBHM and share your knowledge. 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 From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma


100 years ago – 1919 The Coloma Theatre: Gladys Brockwell in “Birds of Prey”; “A Glorious Adventure,” a 5-reel film; also a Big V Comedy. Dr. Spencer D. Guy, recently discharged from the army, has decided to return to the land of his birth. He will take up the practice of his chosen profession, that of medicine. He has rented rooms in the State Bank of Coloma building. 60 years ago – 1959 New books obtained for the Coloma library include: “Twix Twelve and Twenty,” Pat Boone; “The Poor House Fair,” John Updike; and “On the Sunny Side of a One Way Street,” William E. Wilson. Dr. William Cooper and Dr. James Galles announce the association of Dr. Harold M. Grundset in their practice of medicine. Dr. Grundset recently moved to Hartford from Wisconsin. Mrs. Paul Zielke is co-chairman for the 1959 Cancer Crusade. Mr. Paul Zielke is a cost accountant for Heath Co. and Mrs. Zielke is secretary for the Coloma Citizens Advisory Committee. 30 years ago – 1989 The Berrien County Election Commission has approved language clarity on the recall petitions for three commissioners and the mayor. Election Supervisor Louise Stine said the next step is to obtain the required signatures for each petition. Thomas Arent recently graduated Cum Laude from Western Michigan University. He is employed at Whirlpool Corporation and is a 1984 graduate of Coloma High school. Children at Coloma Elementary sent off balloons to celebrate “March is Reading Month.” Attached to the balloons were the children’s names and the number of books they have read. If you find a balloon, please return the card to Coloma Elementary. F. Rosanne Bittner has won her second Silver Pen Award. 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 – 1919 Hartford will erect a memorial to its war heroes. There was an instantaneous response to the suggestion that a memorial shaft be erected in Ely Park to perpetuate the memories of the Hartford boys who made the supreme sacrifice in the war against the Hun, and to honor those who did their bit in the same conflict as well as the veterans of the Civil War and Spanish-American war. Hartford soda fountains opened this week and are again dispensing their frozen delicacies. During the coming season merchants will be required to keep an accurate record of fountain sales, Uncle Sam having levied a tax on soda fountains to pay that little bill for whipping Fritz. A new Hartford industry has just been launched by Dr. L.L. Conkey and Monroe Gifford under the title of the United States Gas Machine Company. They will manufacture gas machines, which are designed to generate gas for cooking and for lighting farm and village homes. The shop has been opened in the rooms over the Gifford blacksmith shop on Center Street. 75 years ago – 1944 Housing prisoners-of-war at the Van Buren County fairgrounds in Hartford is a possibility during the summer and fall months when augmented farm labor will be necessary to harvest fruits and vegetables. Army engineers have developed the plans for converting the fairgrounds into a prison camp. Thomas Jersey Farms, Inc. has recently been given national recognition in building and promoting the Jersey breed. 50 years ago – 1969 Miss Hartford of 1969 will be selected from a field of 25 girls in a contest at the high school gymnasium. Master of ceremonies will be Vic Cumming of WKZO-TV, Kalamazoo. Mrs. Dale Jones is chairman of the contest, with Mrs. Paul Van Overen and Mrs. Lucius King Co-chairmen. The Hartford Child Care club presented a table full of toys to the children’s ward at Community Hospital as an early Easter gift. Making the presentation were Mrs. Donald Keeps and Mrs. William Wallace. Another Child Care club project is making monthly contributions to Hartford Schools to pay for hot lunches for children who cannot afford to buy them. 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 – 1929 It is quite common to scatter hay and straw along the highway, but William Carter unwittingly scattered more valuable farm produce. He started from Forest Beach, where he and Mrs. Carter have been spending the winter, with a box of twenty-two chickens on the running board of his car, for the Carter farm in North Watervliet. When he reached his destination he found but two chickens in the box. One end of the box became loosened and the fowls were scattered along the route. Retracing the route traveled, not a chicken did he find. Forty-five years ago, Watervliet was a busy place according to the files of The Record. Swain & Olney were advertising for four good muley sawyers to commence work in their mills. Another item says: The great saw mills at Watervliet have lain comparatively idle during the past six or eight years are starting up and will run day and night during the coming summer. 60 years ago – 1959 Mr. and Mrs. Almon Hoffman are the proud parents of their baby girl born Nov. 3, 1958 and weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces. Mr. and Mrs. Merton Dell are the parents of a six pound baby girl born Sept. 19, 1958. 30 years ago – 1989 Jennifer Scheid, a freshman at WHS, has been selected by the faculty as Student of the Week. Jennifer is a devoted athlete, having participated in volleyball, basketball and track. A recent triumph was winning a track medal in the Sprint Medley Relay. Other areas of special interest are band, algebra and 4-H, of which she’s been a member since the fifth grade. The WHS faculty is proud to announce that Philip Gearhart has earned the honor of valedictorian and Stephen White, salutatorian of the Class of 1989. Phil earned a 3.98 point average and Stephen a 3.95. Teresa Saurbier, formerly of Watervliet, performed as a member of the Jeremiah People at Andrews University. The Jeremiah People is a Christian musical theatre group which tours the country with its dramatic show that focuses on relationships in the family. Last summer Teresa sang with a group which performed in Korea, Hawaii and throughout the U.S. 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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