Early years of Bittner’s Gas Station 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 email@example.com. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma
The Paw Paw River Journal
EDITOR’S NOTE: This entry in the Paw Paw River Journal was previously published in the Tri-City Record.
The gladiator There aren’t too many places any more where an individual hero walks out into the arena under blazing sun (or blazing stadium lights)… where he lives or dies (sort of) by his individual efforts, like the Roman gladiator of old. One place where this still happens is at the baseball park. Only thing, these modern warriors are paid far, far better than in Roman days. Today’s pro baseball player still has to step out into the arena. Thousands (no, millions) of eyes are upon him. He must deliver the goods… all by himself… and rise or fall by his performance. I know… he is part of a team that must function like it is on ball bearings, but not in the same sense as a football team. No… the baseball star has mostly himself to blame if he screws up. My all-time favorite baseball commissioner was Bartlett Giamatti (may God rest his soul). He was presiding over our national pastime when the furor arose over Pete Rose and the Hall of Fame. Then he was suddenly stricken with a massive coronary and died shortly thereafter. Bart Giamatti knew what baseball is really about, and why it still looms so importantly in our lives. He said that the game is a metaphor for life. Frank DeFord wrote about him in the April 17, 1989, issue of Sports Illustrated. In a story titled “A Gentleman & A Scholar,” DeFord quoted the commissioner as saying baseball is an individual sport, but it depends upon people relying on each other… much in the way we live. We must have rules to exist as a country. Playing the game implies a certain to and fro activity that our national constitution is supposed to be about. Giamatti also felt that baseball is about going home, how much we all need that, how hard it is sometimes to get there, and how driven is our need. No wonder the game is so important if it is about all that. And it is still our national pastime; very important to millions of people… perhaps in spite of the players’ super-star status and astronomical salaries. When I think about my childhood days and baseball, I am taken back to summer in Hartford. We were all so poor from the recent depression that we were lucky to get out of town for a Sunday picnic with our family, let alone go to a city and see a real baseball game. We had our local teams, high school and independent, and we loved them. But professional baseball was in Heinie Stinehilber’s barbershop on Main Street. On a shelf he had one of those cathedral pointed table radios… along with bottles of Vitalis, Rose Water, and Bay Rum—no sissy “Brut,” or pastel “My Sin.” And the radio was tuned to either Chicago or Detroit… for THE GAME! No hoop-la, organ music, and other trimmings… just a guy sitting in the studio at a desk. He had an open microphone, and in the back-ground we could hear the Teletype machine clattering away. The announcer read from a tape as the game progressed. He might have had some reference books, but I’ll bet most of the local color came from his head. He knew all the players, their stats, and their family backgrounds. In our minds he created the whole scene… even the crack of the bat. I’ll bet he whacked a pencil on the edge of his desk. But it was the sound of a Louisville Slugger sending the ball up and up into blinding sunlight. Then he might say, “It’s trouble… trouble… home run! That ball went right into the left field stands and was caught by a man from Boise, Idaho!” How could he know that! We still have a few of the old timers around. To me they are real heroes… never had a chance at today’s huge salaries, but they are larger than life. I was privileged to meet one once. His name is Charles Maxwell… “Paw Paw Charlie Maxwell!” Marion and I were dining at Paw Paw’s La Cantina with Becky and Jim-in-law, Laurie and her Jim-in-law, and some others. Charlie and Mrs. Maxwell were at the next table. In fact, our waitress was their daughter, and a former student of Becky’s. We had a chance to meet that baseball immortal and talk with him. It was such an enjoyable evening. I said to Paw Paw Charlie how much I miss the days when he was a key player in “the game of life.” And how disappointing to see that it is now so much about money. He smiled and said, “I know.” But then he went on to talk about some great players knows… Derek Jeter and the rest. And they are still heroes. Maybe so, but guys such as Paw Paw Charlie Maxwell remind me of the great days… now golden threads woven into the tapestry of our lives along the Paw Paw River.
Watervliet District Library News Adult Crafting, “Pinteresting”, Monday, Apr 30, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. – Paper bead jewelry – have fun trying out a Pinterest inspired craft on the library. Money Smart Art – April – Special stuff for kids – Pick up some library “bucks” at the desk and spend them on art supplies; create something just for fun. Teen Table Projects: April – Celebrate Poetry Month by writing in some books. Take a page from one of the recycle-bound books and cross off everything but your very own poem! Zachary – the read to me dog: Every Saturday through spring, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. – Zachary, a certified therapy hypoallergenic labradoodle, has a Good Canine Citizen Certificate and is a member of the American Kennel Club; loves to be read to by kids. Story Hour: Wed at 10:30 a.m. & Thur at 1:30 p.m. – December to April – Show-and-tell, stories and crafts for children ages 3 – 5 and their families. Sign up to share this structured literacy program with your preschooler. Library Garden Park – Purchase a Legacy Walk brick and celebrate a memory. Bricks are $75; 13 characters, 2 lines. Pick up a form at the library. Yoga: Monday 9 – 10 a.m.; Wednesday 7 – 8 p.m.; Chair Yoga, Wednesday 6:00 – 6:45 p.m.
Coloma Library News Money Smart Kids Read Story Time The library is participating in Money Smart Week by having a children’s program, presented with Honor Credit Union in Coloma on Wednesday, April 25 at 4:30 p.m. This program is geared towards K-2nd Grade, but all children are welcome. Children will learn about money, saving, spending and what makes sense! There will be a story, craft, game, snack and each family will get to take home a copy of “Lots and Lots of Coins” by Margarette S. Reid. Books are provided by the Michigan Credit Union Foundation. There is no sign-up or fee required. Story Hour Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Toddlers and preschoolers are invited to hear a story, make a craft and sing a song with Miss Amy. There is no sign-up or fee required. It is asked that all children be supervised by an adult during Story Hour. Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, May 3 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Stella Bain” by Anita Shreve. 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. Call 468-3431 with questions on any of these activities.
100 years ago – 1918 The Clover Leaf and the Self Culture clubs will send good delegations to the Berrien County Federation of Women’s Clubs. An important session will be the subject “Rebuilding Men.” This address is to be given by the acting warden of the Michigan state prison. The death of Miles Stanley occurred just six days after his soldier son, Earl had passed away. The elder Stanley rose from his sick bed to attend the funeral. His death is a sad blow to his remaining children. 60 years ago – 1958 Vivacious Sandra Repke, 20-year-old Michigan State University sophomore, walked off with the crown of “Miss Coloma.” She will next represent Coloma in the Southwestern Michigan Blossom Queen contest. We remember those that have passed. Mrs. Caroline Drummond, 83; Arthur A. Barton, 81; Philip Butzbach, 93; John Bunker, 76; Orton Walling, 65 and former residents Ezra Kniebes and Albert Hirsch. Army Pvt. Roger W. Ochampaugh recently participated in the training “Lion Bleu.” This exercise was held in Germany. Prior to entering the army, this 19-year-old was employed by Coloma Canning Company. 30 years ago – 1988 The Tri-City Record will hold its fourth “Best Mom” contest. Garry L. McDaniels presented a memorial gift to Coloma’s Board of Education. In memory of Verda K. McDaniels, past school librarian, shelving was purchased for the High School. In other business, the retirement of Raymond Norberg, Director of Music, was accepted. He was recognized for his contribution to the music department. Anna Golomb, 90, and daughters Harriet, Tessie, Cassie and Alice all reminisce about life in Coloma. When the girls were young, they folded the programs for the Coloma Theatre. They’d get in for nothing as payment for this job. They loved life “on the hill” on Paw Paw Street.
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 – 1918 Don M. Deane, who carries the mail between the Hartford post office and the depot, has purchased a Ford truck. He will make the local deliveries of express in addition to carrying the mail. A dancing party for the benefit of the Red Cross will be given at Keeler. Modern Woodmen will donate the use of the hall and Dean’s orchestra will furnish the music. The dance will be one dollar. 75 years ago – 1943 The Glee clubs of Hartford High School, under the direction of Miss Ilah Decker, are planning a concert. The event promises to be one of the most outstanding programs given at the school this year. To give variety, the program is being divided into two parts. The first half will see the boys in suits and the girls in pretty spring dresses. Included will be vocal solos by Robert Colman and piano solos by Gloria Thompson. Study Day was observed by the Southwest Hartford Thursday Club at the home of Mrs. George Danneffel. Roll call, “News of the Day,” was responded to by fourteen members and one guest.
50 years ago – 1968 Twenty-eight girls will compete for the title of Miss Hartford of 1968. Mrs. Wallace Heuser will be mistress of ceremonies for the contest and escorts will be Richard Madarik and Ken Svensson. Mrs. John Laman will be organist. The winner of the contest will be crowned by Miss Hartford of 1967, Miss Bernice Wolverton. William Barlow will sing, “Miss Hartford.” Crown bearer will be John Walker and flower girl will be Dorina Jones. Serving as tellers will be Schuyler Kellogg, Richard Butcher and John Laman. Pages will be Kathy Falkner, Jeff Sahfer and William Hollatz Jr. Junior boys under the direction of Jack Rose will be ushers. Richard Huston, third grade teacher, will report to the Hartford Garden Club on a week spent at the conservation school at Higgins Lake. Mrs. Lloyd Garrison and Miss Mary Esther Lee will be co-hostesses. 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 – 1928 On May 1, 1928, construction was started on a modern gas service station for the Standard Oil Company, on the old hotel site at the corner of Main and Pleasant streets. It is to be equipped with three gasoline pumps and an oil drain pit. Miss Helen Whitney represented Watervliet in the Blossom Week Festivities of May 1958. Hugh Parker, son of Rev. and Mrs. G.R. Parker, participated in the concert given by the All State High School orchestra on at Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor. Master Hugh, who is 14 and an eighth grader was admitted to the orchestra and played in the 3rd seat of the clarinets. 60 years ago – 1958 Major Lewis Long, Watervliet, who is stationed at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, AL, has received orders to the effect that his next assignment will be at the Pentagon, in Washington, D.C. Major Long is at present completing special training at missile school at Maxwell AFB. Miss Glynda Sanders, 17, won the crown and title “Miss Watervliet” in the eliminations on Apr. 20, 1958. Glynda is a senior at WHS. Mr. and Mrs. Fred Wolf are the proud parents of their baby boy, Randy Fred, born May 16, 1958 and weighed 7 pounds 1/2 ounce. 30 years ago – 1988 WHS junior Philip Gearhart will be representing his school at American Legion Boys State on the campus of Michigan State University, June 16-22, 1988. Philip was chosen for this honor by the WHS faculty because of his academic achievements and his extracurricular participation. Jan Willmeng is WHS’s representative to American Legion Auxiliary Girls State held at Central Michigan University June 11-19, 1988. Girls State brings together students from high schools around the state in citizenship and leadership training experience. Nineteen academically talented young men and women were inducted into the Watervliet National Honor Society on Apr. 21, 1988.
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