04-18-2019 Tri-City Area History Page

The Paw Paw River Journal

The Boob Tube Hollywood has always had a lot of meaning for us Heartland Americans. Before we had television… we went to the movies. And a big staple of the publishing houses was the constant stream of magazines devoted to films, stars, and gossip about their goings on. My sister, Wilma, was a big fan of movie magazines. I was smaller, and couldn’t read yet, but I could detect a mild disapproval from our folks when she spent her nickels and dimes on that trash gossip from the land of bikinis and palm trees. And I couldn’t wait until she got a new one… we would sit at the little table in her room, and she would read to me gossip about all the stars. We speculated on whether Errol Flynn was really starting to date his co-star (Olivia DeHaviland) from all those swashbuckling adventure stories they made together. In retrospect, I have come to believe that Olivia (who was a nice girl) saw through the suave exterior of that guy who made all the ladies swoon. Errol Flynn was incredibly handsome and a hero to all of us. But his personal life was in disarray. For an example of his swashbuckling, watch “Captain Blood,” or “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” Just recently from Netflix we watched “The Sun Also Rises.” That was Flynn’s last film, and I can see what life in Hollywood had done to him… but to me he is still heroic! I don’t want to sound curmudgeonly, but when I compare those days, those stars, and those films to what we have today… I feel a sense of loss! I know, I know, technically movies are better than ever. The special effects that can be achieved with computers now are astonishing. But we cannot believe anything we see! In fact, our whole world has gone artificial. We have a good friend who is a long-time music buff. He claims our CDs now, although technically perfect, are really not as real sounding as our vinyl LPs with all their pops and scratches. Personally I don’t want to sit and read a book on a small hand-held screen… no, I’d rather hold a book in my hands and turn the pages! There is something soothing about that. And I like nothing better than to steal a few minutes, sit in my chair by the lamp and read whatever I have going at the time. But back to Hollywood… there has been a real effort to preserve the old films we loved so much. They have reposed in vaults over the years, quietly disintegrating, and now they are being preserved. Those stories were sometimes filmed with incredible difficulty and great expense. Just recently we watched one… “Ben Hur.” Starring Charlton Heston and Stephen Boyd, it is about a family of Jews trying to survive under the crushing rule of Rome in Jesus’ time. That film has what is probably the most astonishing chariot race ever seen. And it is real. There were no computer effects then… it is absolutely breath-taking. The stars are young and beautiful… and the story has an uplift at the end. I know when it comes to gift giving; our kids have a hard time finding something that really pleases us fossils. But our family has been able to do it. For instance, they have given us a subscription to Netflix, and now we have added Amazon Prime. We also get as part of our TV package the channel that shows Turner Classic Movies. I’ve never been a real Ted Turner fan… but he has done something for which I will be eternally grateful. He has helped to preserve the old films. And he shows them on his movie channel all the time. Good films are still being made. I hate to say it, but some of my favorites are coming from England and Canada. On PBS they occasionally have wonderful British mystery series. And semi-historical stories. One that comes to mind is “Downton Abbey.” This story is set around the time of WWI and chronicles the upstairs and downstairs adventures at an incredibly wealthy estate. Finally, I’d like to say… we are still getting good products from Hollywood. Part of my preference is just nostalgia. But the good old days we really did get good films. There were also a bunch of cheapies. In the westerns of my youth the good guys wore white hats, and the bad guys wore black hats. Posses of men on horses chased each other across the screen from left to right and right to left. They were cheaply made, but often were the spring board for some actor or actress who went on to a glorious career with the big studios. Guess I’ll always be hooked on watching the Silver Screen… it started back when I was a little kid and sat listening to Hollywood gossip which my sister read from her movie magazines! That was part of life then in our storybook towns… now brushed with the golden patina of time gone by.

Folks on the porch at Strong’s Resort in 1910 Can you identify any of these people? Stop by the Museum if you have information on this photo. 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

Coloma Public Library News Book Club The Coloma Public Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, May 2 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Every Note Played” by Lisa Genova. Depending on demand there may be titles available for check-out at the front desk. The book club regularly meets every other Thursday and gladly welcomes new members. Join the club members for a lively discussion! Read with Spirit Reading aloud to a gentle dog is a great way for children to practice literacy skills and build reading confidence. Spirit, a certified therapy dog, is a rescue. He is a German Shepherd/ Husky mix. Spirit visits the Coloma Public Library Tuesday evenings from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Register your school-aged child for an individual fifteen minute reading therapy session. Program is free of charge. Spirit will be on vacation for the summer starting Tuesday, April 30, but reading sessions are still available for April 23. Call 269-468-3431 or sign up at the front desk. Story Hour Coloma Public Library Story Hour is Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Join Miss Amy for engaging stories, crafts, and songs. Story Hour is a weekly program designed for toddlers and preschool-aged children. Sign-ups are not required and the program is free. Michigan Activity Pass Get free or discounted admission to hundreds of Michigan’s cultural and natural destinations including state parks, campgrounds, museums, trails, and more using your Coloma Public Library card. Visit the link and follow the prompts on the library’s website to print a pass. Call or stop by the front desk for more details or assistance.

Watervliet District Library News Sustainable Living Apr. 22, 6:30 p.m. Celebrate Earth Day 2019 with low or no-cost tips for reducing carbon footprint, presented by MSU Extension Educator, Beth Clawson – free seedling for each attendee. Pinteresting Apr. 29, 5:30 – 8 p.m. Arts & Crafts for grown-ups, held the last Monday of the month. Sign-up is required. April – Plantable Paper Story Hours Wednesdays 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. & Thursdays 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Picture books, crafts and fun designed to inspire the love of reading for ages 3 – 5. Book a Social Work Intern! Tuesdays 1–4 p.m. Need help with on-line applications, unemployment or housing? Drop in or make an appointment for help with questions or problems. Yoga Mondays 9 – 10 a.m.; Chair Yoga – Wednesdays 6 – 6:30 p.m.; Wednesdays 7 – 8 p.m.; Fridays 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Please call 463-6382 for more information on any Watervliet Library activity.


100 years ago – 1919 All churches will assist agencies in finding employment for soldiers, sailors and war workers. The drive begins with “employment Sunday.” The big gala, “Victory Loan Volunteer Subscriptions” will take place at Bunker’s opera house. The Coloma concert band will render a concert. A patriotic address as well as a play, “Lest We Forget” will be performed. Victory Liberty Loan medals will be awarded. These medals are manufactured from captured German cannons. 60 years ago – 1959 The Town & Country Club will be host to the mobile chest X-ray bus as it begins its two week tour. The volunteer fire department was called to four blazes. A tenant house on the LeRoy Emhoff farm was completely destroyed. Other fires were at the M. Steffen Vinegar Company, a grass fire at Washington School and a home on Lakewood Point. Fred’s Super Market celebrated a second anniversary. There were many winners of baskets of groceries and door prizes. Mr. and Mrs. Ed Soulard and daughter Jeannine were in Chicago to see the Ice Capades. Reopening! Loma Theatre – Open weekdays, 7 p.m. Late Cinemascope Pictures, Air Conditioned, also Baby Room 30 years ago – 1989 Racial tensions have escalated at Coloma High School. “The school is safe. We continue to remove students that cause any trouble,” Superintendent Cliff Tallman said. Experts are being brought in to help with multiple cultural relations. Coloma Athletic Boosters officers: Maryvonne Bohannon, President; Sandy Kraemer, Vice-President; Robin Jollay, Treasurer; and Anita Hirsch, Secretary. They invite all to attend the dedication of the girls’ softball field. The dedication ceremony caps two years work, receiving donations from Hipskind Building Supply, Dlouhy Electric, Bill’s Sign Art, Jerry Jollay, CCS administration and maintenance. John Weber, softball coach and the team also helped. 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 Dr. J.D. Stewart, who recently returned from service in the medical corps of the army, will resume the practice of medicine in Hartford, with temporary offices at his residence, the first door south of the East End Garage. The fairgrounds association has purchased two lots of George Kime and Frank Shafer. The lots will be added to the south side of the fair grounds. Dr. Fred Van Riper has leased offices in the post office block and will open a dental office in Hartford. 75 years ago – 1944 The Hartford Art Study class met at the home of Mrs. Alice Hurry. In the absence of Mrs. Florence Luce, Mrs. May Deane discussed a subject in the new program of study, “Women Artists,” speaking of the work of Violet Oakley. Members of the Philharmonic Club were entertained at the home of Mrs. Helen Willmeng. Mrs. Floyd Lammon, President, presided at the business meeting which opened with the singing of the theme song. During the afternoon’s program, Mrs. Gaylord Thompson read selections from an article appearing in Etude magazine “Doctoring with Music”. Mrs. Violet Myers discussed “Music in Industry”, and Mrs. Wally Kirsch sang several songs and played her guitar. 50 years ago – 1969 The Hartford Garden Club will meet Friday afternoon at the home of Mrs. Dan Pitcher. Co-hostess will be Mrs. Paul Day. Mrs. William King will lead a discussion on “Is pollution a part of conservation?” Members of the Hartford junior and senior band will hold a “slave day” to raise money for new uniforms. Band members will rake lawns or perform other chores for donations of $1 per hour to the uniform fund. John Righter, president of the Hartford Jaycees presented a check for $300 to Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Knight of Hartford. Knight was the winner of a vacation for two to Florida in a contest recently sponsored by the Jaycees. He chose to take the money rather than the trip. 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 The Senior Class of Watervliet High School, nine young women and twelve young men, are to receive their diplomas June 7. It is unusual for the boys to outnumber the girls and certainly indicates that the local institution is making a high school education interesting to the male students. The honor of class valedictorian goes to Norbert Hutchins, based on his standings for the four years of high school work. The second class honor, salutatorian, is accorded to Miss Ruth Viola Bishop, with a high school standing of 42 points. Members of the high school band, orchestra, Girls’ Glee Club and Boys’ Glee Club left for Michigan State College, East Lansing, where they are competing in the state musical contests. 60 years ago – 1959 Printed on Dec. 25, 1958: “Celebrate sensibly,” these were the words of warning suggested by Chief of Police Victor Bianchi to all motorists who plan to attend New Year’s Eve parties. “Celebrating the beginning of a brand new year can be lots of fun, if we use good judgment. If we make the sometimes fatal mistake of thinking we can drink and drive, that same celebration can mark the beginning of a tragic period in our lives, instead of the beginning of a happy new year. 30 years ago – 1989 A total of 4,068 University of Michigan students in Ann Arbor were recognized at the university’s Honors Convocation on March 29. Todd W. Bannen, Watervliet, received a Class Honor from the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. For the second year in a row, the students in Mrs. Geisler’s and Mrs. Karne’s classroom have earned the ‘Book-it’ award for each of the contest’s five months. As a result students won a pizza party compliments of Pizza Hut. Each student read an average of six books per month for the five months to earn the party. An ‘Honor Party’ was held at the Watervliet North School on Apr. 21, 1989, for the students who were on the Honor Roll and the Principal’s List for the third marking period. 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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