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05-07-2020 Tri-City History Page

The Paw Paw River Journal

Somebody’s mother

Back in the day when I was working for the government (not entirely by choice), we used to march incessantly in Basic Training.  Miles and miles… and a directive came out that all of us in Air Force training should sing as we marched. So we did, and had an amazing repertoire of songs.

One came to mind because Mother’s Day is approaching. The song went like this: “Be kind to your web-footed friends… for that duck may be somebody’s muuuuuuuuther (long & drawn out)… she lives all alone in the swamp, where the weather is cold and domp (damp)…”

Now this may seem a rather light and irreverent approach to Mother’s Day, but I do not mean it as such. I was thinking about mothers, and that song just popped in there. And I do want to talk about them.

Everyone in this world has a mother and a father. Unfortunately, it is a fact of life that many kids now do not have both present in their lives. Once in a while it is an absent mother… but usually it is a scarce dad.

Years ago, when we were moving into our home, it caused a small neighborhood sensation. There were trucks in the driveway, people coming and going… carrying stuff into the house. A group of small neighborhood urchins gathered around to watch. My Chief Accountant (who has always liked kids) stopped to talk to them.

One little boy was hanging back on the edge of the group.  Another one, obviously trying to find some subject of interest to this big person, pointed at the kid on the fringe and said, “He ain’t got no dad!”

My partner in life squatted down and said to them earnestly, “Now, kids, I want to tell you something… everyone in this world has a mom and a dad. Some of them are just in other places!”

The poor little urchin beamed at her… she had made a friend there.

And there is a germ of truth in that.  It takes two parents to bring a child into the world. What happens after that is one of the great tragedies of our society.

I have known a lot of people who made it with only one parent… but that person was strong and could do the work of both. It may not take a whole village to rear a child (although it would help), but the best solution is to have both a mother and father present and working at it.

I guess Marion and I were both lucky to have two parents who took their job seriously. My mom was there to bind up our childhood wounds, and my dad was ever present to instruct me on how not to have that happen again!

My mom gave me a colorful “Indian” blanket to take in my Radio Flyer coaster wagon to go camping.  With a couple of friends, I pulled the wagon up to the corner where we made our tent and had a meal of white crackers (with graham crackers for dessert!). I’m sure she must have watched us from the window to see that we did not go beyond our property.

Marion remembers living on the farm with her family, and they all pitched in to help. Their mom gave Marion and sister Dolores a big dish and said, “Why don’t you pick some blackberries and take them to Mrs. Taylor (an older widow who lived just down the road). She likes to make jam.”

Marion says now she realizes her mom was teaching them to help others, especially older people.

And how we chafed and squirmed under the strictures of parental control. That is natural… fences are made to be tested. But somewhere along in there something happened.  Perhaps it was parents of our generation… having gone through a Depression as children, then World War II… they said, “My kids are not going to have to go through what we went through!” And they lost sight of the fact that it is the fire that tempers steel.

Now those children of permissive post-war parents have grown up and have children. And those children have grown up and have children.  Have we gotten back to any sane footing in the parenting world? I don’t think our society has improved any. In the name of freedom of expression, entertainment has gone way past what I believe to be suitable.

I know this sounds like doom and gloom… a retired teacher I know very well has said that there are new parents who realize what is wrong… and we have better kids on the horizon. I hope so. Recent video displays of teen-agers beating on each other do not inspire confidence.

What can we do? Is the genie out of the bottle? Has the toothpaste been squeezed out of the tube… and cannot be put back in? I know what I think would help… better parenting. Better two parenting! And respect for others. It’s almost too much to ask that young people delay gratification of the senses.  Some time ago, people had to earn adulthood. Not anymore. Kids take on the trappings of adulthood at an ever earlier age.

If any younger people are reading this, please take time this Mother’s Day to honor the woman who gave you life. I do not mean to say that my generation was perfect. We were not.

One night a while back I dreamed about my mom. I walked up to her and she was young and attractive… probably looking much like she did when I was a wee lad.

In my dream, I put my arms around her and said, “I love you.”

She smiled at me and said, “It’s easier to say that now you are older, isn’t it…” How true!

(Reprint from the May 10, 2018 issue of the Tri-City Record)

Watervliet District Library News

Patrons can check the library’s Facebook page for weekly events, games, book talks and entertainment while the library is closed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Their weekly schedule includes Make-It Monday @ Home, Trivia Tuesday, Celebrity Story Times on Wednesdays, Foodie Friday, and Saturday Surprise. Remember, these are not time sensitive. Check out a story hour post any time your schedule allows.

The library is connected to a world of online books and audio books through Overdrive. A link is provided on their webpage

New titles are added each week to the library’s Overdrive account for e-books and e-audios. Some of this week’s top titles are: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins; A Minute to Midnight by David Baldacci; The Splendid and the Vile by Eric Larsen. A link is provided on the webpage in the library’s online catalog; contact them for help signing up or signing in if necessary. They take requests, too! Send them a message through any channel and they’ll put in an order.

Anyone that needs to do research for school or work from home can try, the state wide database resource. MEL includes a huge selection of articles, journals and ebooks for curious minds of all ages, and contains a link for tools to help kids and parents, under Learning From Home. These are available to all Michigan residents.

Watervliet District Library staff can be reached through Facebook, or email ( To speak to the director, call the library at 463-6382 and follow the prompts.

Coloma Public Library News


The Coloma Public Library will remain closed until further notice. The Library Administration is available through Facebook messaging or emailing at

Digital Library Card

Anyone eligible can sign up for a digital card from the Coloma Public Library. A free card is available for residents or business owners in the library’s legal service area including Coloma Township, the City of Coloma, Bainbridge Township, and Hagar Township. Card holders can gain access to e-books and other electronic resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visit their website at Click on “Catalog” in the banner and look for the “Sign Up” button near the top right corner.

Little Free Cart

When weather permits the library will place a cart outside the front doors with free reading materials. They will alert on their Facebook page on days the reading cart is available. Please feel free to keep the items until the library has reopened for services. Materials will come from donations and be an eclectic assortment.

Research family history

Library patrons can learn their family history with Ancestry.Com. Normally, this resource is only available from inside the library, but now able patrons can access it through the comfort of their homes. From the library’s website, select “Catalog”. Ancestry.Com is the second link under the “Electronic Resources” section.

Virtual Storytimes

Children can join Miss Alicia online for Virtual Storytimes! Links to new storytimes will be posted on the library’s Facebook page.


100 years ago – 1920

Governor Sleeper has issued the proclamation to observe this Sunday as “Mother’s Day”. Display the United States flag as a means of paying homage to American motherhood.

After battling an affliction causing great suffering, the hand of death relieved Mrs. Blanche Muth-Guerry. This popular young lady will be missed by many.

The big Woodward pavilion at Paw Paw Lake will open for the 1920 season. Fischer’s complete exposition orchestra will furnish the music.

60 years ago – 1960

Deer Forest animal park will begin its 12th year. Robert Potts has taken over the 30-acre park from his father, Cecil. The park has had extensive improvements since last fall.

Coloma track will play host to Decatur and St. Joseph Ponies in a triangular meet.

We mourn longtime residents. Roy Lynch suffered a coronary heart attack while on his garbage truck route. Requiem high mass was celebrated for Nicholas Provenzano.

A potluck supper and program was held honoring Miss Marjory Furman and Mr. Elwood Geisler. Both have retired from musical positions at the First Congregational Church.

Remember Mother’s Day – Otto Hingst, Florist – Phone HO 8-5552

30 years ago – 1990

Fire destroys landmarks. The Chicago Family Restaurant, the Friendly Tavern and The Village Inn all suffered major damage. Sustaining smoke and water damage were Chuck’s Barber Shop, The Fun Factory and The Movie Zoo. The State Fire Marshal is investigating.

We Asked You… “What School Teacher had the Biggest Impression on You?” Paul Bearden: Miss Quadi. Mike Willming: Mr. Irvin. Barb Hazen: Mrs. Righter. Elizabeth DeRosa: Sue Cade. Ronda Craft: My government teacher.

Graduating from Central Michigan University is David F. Heyn and Dino Yacobozzi.

This year’s CROP walk begins at the Coloma Methodist Church. The route goes up Ryno, then to Watervliet and finally back to Coloma.

Submitted by volunteer Sandi Musick Munchow at Coloma Public Library from the Coloma Courier newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record.

Hours: Closed until further notice.

Phone: 269-468-3431


100 years ago – 1920

Hartford is experiencing the first real pinch of the gasoline famine. The stock is entirely depleted at the local station of the Standard Oil Company, and the local agent, Clarence Pomeroy, is uncertain as to when further supplies now in transit will get through the freight tie-up. Many of the service stations in town are out of gasoline, the only supplies delivered here yesterday coming from the Coloma Oil Company. Transit cars passing through Hartford have taken a large part of the local supply during the past few days.

75 years ago – 1945

Capt. Richard W. Olds, pilot on the B-17 Flying Fortress “Bugs Bunny Jr.”, has been awarded the first oak leaf cluster to the Distinguished Flying Cross. The award was made for meritorious achievement during Eighth Air Force bombing attacks on vital German industries andmilitary installations. Official citation accompanying the award commented on the courage, coolness and skill displayed by Capt. Olds on all occasions as reflecting great credentials upon himself and the armed forces of the United States.

Arthur Thompson, Pacific invasion veteran, will address the Commercial-Farmer Club Thursday night, May 17. A member of the Seabees, Thompson participated in the invasion of Boughanville Island.

50 years ago – 1970

State police from the fire marshal’s division are investigating the cause of a fire Sunday morning at the Sunset Drive-in theater on Red Arrow Highway west of here. Hartford firefighters were called about 8:15am when fire broke out in a garage type building at the base of the theater screen. The fire apparently started on a workbench near the south wall of the building and spread across the ceiling and towards the higher area of the screen.

High school home economics classes will present a style show at the high school cafeteria. Refreshments will be served after the program. Jeri Howader and Gina Moore are co-chairmen of the show.

The Hartford Blossom float will be on display at an open house Thursday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The float is located in a metal garage on the north side of Red Arrow Highway between Hartford and Lawrence. The float was built by the Hartford Jaycees and depicts Robert Fulton’s first steamboat.

Submitted by Librarian Stephanie Daniels at Hartford Public Library from microfilm copies of the Hartford Day Spring.

Hours: Closed until further notice.

Phone: 269-621-3408

90 years ago – 1930

There were 24 members in the graduating senior class of Watervliet High School in 1930. Graduating officers were: Herbert Gilcrest – President, John Bruley – Vice President, Leah Rosenbaum – Secretary and Andrew Hutchins – Treasurer.

P.H. Lewis is having some extensive improvements made to the house on the W.J.A. Addition, which he purchased some time ago. E.H. Babcock and Sons are doing the carpenter work, which, among other things include a bathroom. A furnace is also being installed.

 Reported on Apr. 23, 1930 – The City Park Board has bleachers built for the Hayes Athletic Field that will seat 200 people. Most of the work of building the bleachers was donated.


60 years ago – 1960

Four WHS seniors received notification that they are recipients of scholarships at the colleges of their choice. William Beverly received $2,800 for four years at Kalamazoo College; John Rogers was awarded a $3,960 scholarship that is renewable each year through the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Lynn Conrad received a $1,200 Scholarship Award for four years at Valparaiso University and Louis Mestre was awarded a Regent Alumni Scholarship at the University of Michigan.

For the fifth time in eight years, employees of the Watervliet Paper Co. turned down a bid for union representation. Out of a possible 456 votes, 446 were cast. Employees voted 264 against and 163 for.

The 1960 Census figures for the city and township of Watervliet were released. The population was 1327 ten years earlier. The township count was estimated at only 1,000 people back in 1950. The new census revealed 1,312 people living within city limits and 2,520 living in the township.

30 years ago – 1990

On May 10, 1990, twenty-four students were inducted into the WHS Chapter 1125 of the National Honor Society. The featured speaker was Peg Powers, a long time resident of Watervliet.

Virginia Young, secretary at St. Joseph School for nearly ten years, was presented with 150 cards from the students on Secretary’s Day and a set of lawn chairs from the staff because she is the best secretary any school could want.

At the beginning of May 1990, the Watervliet Pompom Squad held an awards night. Each year special awards are given. Receiving the 1990 awards: Leann Kolinski and Becky Attila tied for Most Valuable Pommer; Kim Cockrun – most improved Pommer; Kate Attila – the Pommer who gives 100%; best all-around Pommer went to Holly Emhoff.

Submitted by Sally Q. Gonzalez from files at Watervliet District Library of the Watervliet Record newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record.

Hours: Closed until further notice.

Phone: 269-463-6382


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