05-11-2017 Tri-City Area History

Spinks Corners School 1950

Room 1, grades kindergarten and 1st

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

The Paw Paw River Journal


Band of Brothers (in-law)

 Just like the rest of you, I wait each week for The Tri-City Record to come in the mail. Can hardly wait to see what I have written in my column, The Paw Paw River Journal. Does that surprise you? Well, I try to do my stories a month at a time and pop them in to Editor Karl to wait in line for publication. So then I read what I have written from another point of view… how can I improve? Does the story proceed logically, etc.

And I read the rest of the paper. I’m proud to be part of it each week. So this week when it came, in his editorial Karl had a tribute to his friend and brother-in-law, who has just departed this life. I could really relate to that, because in this life I have been lucky enough to have four guys, all friends, and all married to relatives or were related to me through my Chief Accountant. Karl, that really resonated when I read about your friendship with “Silky.”

Of my four brothers-in-law, there is only one remaining in this life. Bob Kling is Marion’s brother and is at present sojourning in the land of palm trees, giant cockroaches, and bikinis. He should be back before long. His three surviving children and their families all live in this area. I will be glad to see him again. He is one of my few remaining friends who are anywhere close to my age.

When I came home from WWII, he was a kid of about fifteen. One day we were shooting baskets with a hoop fastened against the side of the barn at their home place. Into the yard came a car… a new Pontiac. Bob went over to talk to the couple therein, and after a while they left. I was still shooting baskets, and Bob came back with wonder in his face.

He said, “Bud, that is a friend of mine… he’s about my age. And he wanted to show me his new car and his new wife!” Bob could hardly believe the reality of that situation… He said, “Here I am shooting baskets and riding a bicycle… and he’s married and has a new car!”

Later on we were talking and I said, “Bob, you know how when Marion and I were dating in high school, you were just a kid? Well, now I’m back home, we’re closer to the same age!”

He thought for a moment, then said, “You don’t think I’ll ever pass you, do you?” I assured him I didn’t think that would ever happen. And it hasn’t. But as all that time passed, we have gotten closer to being the same age… and as I said, he is one of my few remaining good friends.

His brother, Louis, was even younger when Marion and I first got together. He grew up and started dating one of my students when I was teaching at the old Watervliet High School… Phyllis Winans. They were married and had a long and good life together, rearing three children before his untimely departure from this life. Both boys were in service and came home to farming, then construction work. Louie was a gifted carpenter, and Kling Construction has done all the work on our home place here over the years.

When it comes to building, one of the toughest jobs is roofing a house. I can remember when Kling Construction stopped doing that line of work. But we needed a new roof here, and Louie said, “Bud, we’ll put on a roof for you, but it’s