The Paw Paw River Journal
EDITOR’S NOTE: This entry in the Paw Paw River Journal was previously published in the Tri-City Record and repeated in recognition of Mother’s Day, May 13, 2018. 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. 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… 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 recently 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. Just recently one night 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!
Coloma Library News 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 17 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “The Zookeeper’s Wife” by Diane Ackerman. 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. Memorial Day closings The library will be closed Saturday, May 26, Sunday, May 27 and Monday, May 28 to celebrate Memorial Day. Call 468-3431 with questions on any Coloma library activity.
Watervliet District Library News
In Stitches Knitting Group May 11, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. Second Friday of every month, bring your needles and join the fun! Limited supplies available; beginners are welcome. Third Monday Book Club May 21, 7 – 8 p.m. Great books, fabulous conversations! Ask for a copy at the desk. This month’s adventure is “Stitches” by David Small. Teen Table Projects – May: “X, a Novel” by Ilyasah Shabazz. Take home your own copy, read it and share your inspiration in art – your choice of format – and take home a fedora in classic zoot-suit style! Special Stuff for Kids – May: Check out this year’s Michigan Ready-To-Read book, “I got the Rhythm” and take home a rhythm instrument craft! 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. Call 463-6382 for questions on any Watervliet library activity.
NEWS FROM THE HARTFORD DAY SPRING
100 years ago – 1918 A war drama entitled “Somewhere in France” will be presented at the opera house Friday evening for the benefit of the surgical dressing department of the Hartford Red Cross unit. The play is to be presented by Bangor talent assisted by Hartford talent and the Hartford Boy Scouts and Camp Fire girls. Wm. M. Traver recently purchased the Goodenough farm of 560 acres south of town. Much of the land will be devoted to crops for the Traver canning factory. 75 years ago – 1943 Mrs. Margaret Cummings, a former resident of Hartford, but now residing in Sister Lakes received her orders today to report for duty with the WAAC’s on Sunday, May 9. Mrs. Cummings will report to Fort Oglethrope, Georgia. Several parties have been given by her friends and neighbors in her honor the last few weeks. She has been presented with a traveling bag and a fountain pen. Margaret Galbreath of Hartford was the alternate representative for Western Michigan College in their annual prose reading contest of the Michigan intercollegiate speech league which was held at Michigan State College May 7. She won second place in the contest held on the campus. 50 years ago – 1968 People will be working at the fairgrounds tonight, May 8, tomorrow and Friday night preparing the float for the Blossom parade. Interested persons are welcome. The Progressive Mothers Club in cooperation with Tri-County Health Department is sponsoring a sight and hearing clinic for children 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 years old on May 22 and 23 at the Methodist church. Appointment for children may be made with Mrs. John VanLierop. Mothers will be honored Saturday at the Seventh Adventist church, with special recognition for the oldest and youngest mothers. Dr. Ruth Rittenhouse, honor alumna of Andrews University will be the principal speaker. William Hamberger and Mrs. James Stagg will sing. 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.
NEWS FROM THE WATERVLIET RECORD
90 years ago – 1928 Deidee Myrick, Watervliet, won second place and a prize of $10 in gold and a silver pin in the second annual extempore speaking contest held at Western State Teachers’ College. On May 29, 1928, Mrs. Alma E. Hunt a National Economist and Cooking Expert gave a demonstration of the modern method of home cooking on an electric cookery. It is a modern, convenient, labor-saving and time-saving method of preparing meals. The third grade is very proud of the results of the recent intelligence tests. In the arithmetic test the standard is 10.6 out of 34 problems. The average for the room was 12, above average. In spelling the average was a high 86.7. In the reading tests a quotient of 100 is normal and the third graders scored 107. 60 years ago – 1958 Miss Janet Krickhahn, 1958 graduate of WHS, has been accepted at Mercy Hospital, Benton Harbor, for their regular Nursing Course for the fall. Janet was awarded a three-year scholarship in nursing by the Berrien County Farm Bureau Women. Peter Kobe and John Rogers were presented with scholarships to the Music Camp of Western Michigan University. Peter received a full two weeks scholarship. John received a half-scholarship. Marine Sgt. Bill E. Matthews, Watervliet, took part in the 1st Marine Division’s “Operation Drybeach,” a full-scale air-ground exercise held at Camp Pendleton, California. 30 years ago – 1988 The 7th grade students from Mr. Bradley’s classes at Watervliet Junior High became inventors. The students participated in a countywide ‘Invention Convention’ held at the Berrien County Intermediate School District. Over 40 students worked on their inventions which included things like modified rakes, a toilet seat closer, a hot curling iron holder, a banana slicer and a better mousetrap. The Watervliet Downtown Development Authority hired an engineering firm to begin project plans to clean up the Mill Creek area as it passes through the downtown district. One of the first things to be done was to establish ownership and access to the creek. 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