top of page

05-14-2020 Tri-City Area History Page

The Paw Paw River Journal

Gray power Old people don’t realize how much power they really have. We control much of the financial assets available. Ah ha, you say… but my kids have all of my money! Yes, and they are spending a lot on your care. New assisted living venues are springing up all over. There are more and more of us as baby boomers retire. I first really began to realize this when I saw an ad on TV years ago. A little old lady named Clara Peller was waiting for a hamburger in a fast food place. She finally stuck her head through the door out into the kitchen and yelled, “Where’s the beef?” That cry was immediately taken up all over the land. In fact, it was so overused that it went out of favor quite rapidly. But the question remains to this day. And can be applied to many situations… where is the beef? I can remember thinking about this some, way back in the day. I bumped up against old people’s lives, because we took care of some old people… and some people who weren’t so old, but had other problems. We didn’t have places like where I am now living back then. I’ll mention just one… our cousin, Anton. Tony was born in Germany and came over here as a young man. He was a skilled woodworker and spent his whole career in Chicago working for Montgomery Ward. He also enlisted in the U.S. Army and spent World War II as an interpreter. So he paid his dues. When he got too old to live by himself, we moved him out here to Michigan… I might add, over his strenuous objections. Brother Bob had just built some new apartments, and we moved him into one of those. There he lived in lonely splendor as long as his health was good. Marion and I walked over there just about every day to take him his lunch. And we included him in all of our family get-togethers. When his health failed, we got him into the veterans’ hospital, at Battle Creek. There he spent his remaining life. I use him as an example, because every step of the way he fought against change. We all hate change, and Tony was a perfect example of how old people can dig in their heels and protest some injustice. He loved to eat at Burger King and there had always been one right near his home in Chicago. He said a Whopper had all the necessary nutrients for a meal. So whenever we had a chance, we would take him to what he called “The Burger”, and buy him a Whopper. One day we walked over to his place with homemade soup Marion made. He ate it all right, but grudgingly. And he remarked, “I’ll bet you guys had a hamburger!” “No, Tony,” I answered, “we had soup just like you have here!” And I had to admire the tenacity with which he clung to whatever independence he could keep. That is a common occurrence with old people. They don’t want to lose what little control they have over their lives. We’ve all heard horror stories about mistreatment that old people suffered at the hands of caregivers. I can remember one kid I ran into as Marion was working private duty in a small family hospital. He kept the old people in line with subtle threats. Sure, it made his job easier for him. How would he do it? He would casually bring out a long folded knife and casually start trimming his fingernails as he talked to them. Sure, little old ladies were terrified. They finally caught up to him, and I think he got his just desserts! Fortunately that’s an extreme case and I don’t think it happens anymore; the nursing homes and assisted living places I’ve seen are most professional. Surely, I’ll admit it… old age is scary. People often don’t feel well, have to take more pills, and are much more involved with doctors. That’s enough to scare anybody! And on top of that they are entering the stage of life where they’ve never been before. I know because I am one of them! Because of diminished physical power, they feel unable to control their own lives. Again, I know all about that. But what old people tend to forget is the financial power many of them have. As a group we control much of the assets in our country. The people who build facilities to house old people realize what a market it is. The family that built The Vineyard is well aware of the situation and they have answered a need. They provide a quality residence for people like us. Perhaps we need to mount an advertising campaign… “Don’t be afraid of old age!” It’s just another stage of life! Cast off your chains, Americans! Don’t I sound good? Do not be fooled, I’m right in there worrying with the best of them. Just another American kid trying to weave a few more golden threads into The Great Tapestry of Life in these story book towns along the Paw Paw River!

Were you proudly photographed at your graduation? With your diploma? With family? This photograph is of Miss Mary DuVall. The proud graduate went on to marry William Grant. Please share your graduation story with North Berrien Historical Museum, contact them at 269-468-3330 or The museum is closed until further notice. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

Coloma Public Library News Closure

The Coloma Public Library will remain closed until further notice. The Library Administration is available through Facebook messaging or emailing at Little Free Cart Weather permitting, the Library places a cart outside the front doors with free reading materials. Materials come from donations and are an eclectic assortment. The Library will try to honor special requests for authors if they are available in the bookstore. Contact them through Facebook messaging for more details. Digital Library Card Sign up for a digital card from the Coloma Public Library. A free card is available for residents or business owners in their legal service area including Coloma Township, the City of Coloma, Bainbridge Township, and Hagar Township. Gain access to e-books and other electronic resources 24 hours a day, 7 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. Learn family history with Normally, this resource is only available from inside the library, right now patrons can access it at home. From the Library’s website, select “Catalog”. 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. Audible Stories Right now, kids everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, and learning. All stories are free to stream on a desktop, laptop, phone or tablet. Explore the collection, select a title and start listening. The link can be found through the Library’s catalog under “Electronic Resources”.

Memorial Day Parade in Watervliet falls victim to pandemic

Watervliet V.F.W. Post 1137 has announced they have unfortunately had to cancel the annual Memorial Day Parade for Watervliet due to the restrictions put in place to stop the mitigation of COVID-19. Should an alternate plan be made an announcement will be published with details, according to Watervliet VFW Commander Corky Openneer.


100 years ago – 1920 Fire broke out on the roof of Mrs. Alice M. Baker’s house. The new chemical engine and truck responded to the call. Volunteer firemen worked hard in quenching the blaze. Miss Marie Furman has returned from Camp Sam Houston, Texas. She has been engaged as a registered nurse for Uncle Sam. The marriage of Miss Lillian Kibler to Mr. Becht has been solemnized. The groom is employed in the Watervliet paper mill. 60 years ago – 1960 The high school band will march in the Blossom Parade wearing new uniforms. Miss Coloma, Nancy Lowe and her court will ride on a float built by the shop department of the high school. Mercy Hospital has issued an appeal for “B” positive blood. It is to help Coloma patient Mrs. LuJean Molter. She was injured in an automobile accident. Mrs. Howard Walther has moved her Ra-Ann Ceramic shop to her own home at Wil-O-Paw Drive. Her shop was formerly in the Loma Furniture building. “Paris in the Spring, Promenade” is the theme for the Homemaking Spring Style show of the high school Home-Economics department. 30 years ago – 1990 State Fire Marshal rules “arson” in the fire that destroyed the Friendly Tavern. Damage is in excess of $250,000. Thank you Karl Bayer for the photo. And thank you and praise to the firemen that battled the blaze. John Willming’s political cartoon caption “Fire Nut Loose in Tri-City Area?” mirrors many citizens’ worried feelings. Dr. Michael Stolee, Court Master for the Desegregation program praised Coloma Schools, “Someone has done something right.” He also noted the lack of a physical education facility keeps the high school from accreditation. THANK YOU from Jim and Dorothy Frazier to the many fire departments for their superb performance in saving their home and property. 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 The rows of poplar trees which have been an ornament to the streets leading to the fair grounds are found to have become seriously infected with San Jose scale and the tree commissioners have ordered the destruction of those that are past redemption. Eugene Phillips was injured last Friday at the home of his son, Edward Phillips, southeast of town, when he fell from a wagon and sustained a severely sprained ankle. He has since been under physician’s care. An alarm of fire Thursday noon called the department to the Hartford Bakery where sparks from a chimney had ignited the roof. The blaze was extinguished with slight damage. The largest monument ever erected in a Hartford cemetery is being put up by E.M. Zuver this week at the G.W. Merriman lot at Maple Hill. The design of the monument was selected by Mrs. Merriman only a short time before her death on March 24. 75 years ago – 1945 V-E Day was observed quietly in Hartford today. Moments after President Truman concluded his radio address to the nation, the village fire whistle was sounded and the village flag was raised. Only a handful of onlookers were present for the ceremony. Flags appeared quickly in front of Hartford stores and homes and all stores closed for the remainder of the afternoon. Purchase of slightly more than 192 acres of land for Leach airport was formally completed Wednesday afternoon when final payment was made to the former owner, Jack Mandell, and the deed was turned over to the purchaser, Claire Leach. The purchase price was $8,000. The property adjoins a 3.5 acre site which Leach owned previously and provides a total airport area of 227 acres. 50 years ago – 1970 A newly formed baton marching unit, the Indianettes, consisting of over 30 Hartford area youngsters will be making their first appearance in the Hartford Memorial Day parade. The Modern Mothers Club will meet at the Elm room on Wednesday evening to leave for Kalamazoo to attend the Civic theater production of “Cactus Flower”. Boy Scouts of Troop 96 will hold a paper drive Saturday, May 16. Scouts ask that papers and magazines be tied in separate bundles.

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 Watervliet school musicians participated in a state and national band and ensemble contest. The woodwind ensemble composed of Hugh Parker, Herbert Gilcrest, Gordon Lewis and Burr Carmody, won first place in the state contest at Ann Arbor and were entitled to enter the national contest. They were accorded eighth in the U.S. while competing with class A, B & C schools. So far as is known, Watervliet has only two living Civil War veterans; Uriah Woods and William Drew. As has been the custom for the past few years, these aged War Veterans will ride in the parade instead of marching for Memorial Day. One Spanish War Veteran, Joseph Collins, is a resident of this city. Mr. And Mrs. Milton Scherer have been accepted as members of the fourth Cultural Expedition to the Orient, which is to sail on July 2, 1930, for a summer in Japan and China. They will be meeting outstanding personalities in culture and politics and seeing, under trained guidance, the national beauties, cultural monuments and native life of Pacific Asia. 60 years ago – 1960 John Rogers has been selected to represent the Watervliet High School seniors as their class speaker at the 1960 Commencement exercise on June 2, 1960. He will speak on “The Challenge of Graduation”. The eighth grade students of Watervliet High School have elected Jeff Cole as class speaker for their graduation on June 1, 1960. John has chosen for his topic “The Aims of Education”. Cub Pack 61 of Watervliet has received the President’s Award for their pack exhibit at the Scout-O-Rama. The award which is the highest honor was presented in only seven of the 94 units who presented exhibits. 30 years ago – 1990 The Watervliet VFW has purchased 31 flags to fly along Main Street. The VFW raised $600 to purchase the flags through donations. Further donations to the project will be used to buy 19 additional flags to complete said project. The flags will be installed and flown through the Memorial Day weekend. The “Employee of the Month” was awarded to Patty VanAnterp for May 1990. Patty is a cluster teacher for gifted and talented students at South Elementary School. She is a hard-working, professional educator, who is creative and innovative. On May 7, the third annual Student Excellence Awards program was held. Three young ladies from WHS won awards in their respective vocational technical education classes. Angele Haase won in Health Occupation, Mary Calvert and Tammy Nichols both won in Information Processing.

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


Related Posts

See All

Rolling Back the Years

News from the Coloma Courier 100 years ago – 1924 The dates for the Mutual Morgan Chautauqua have been set. Tickets are now being sold. Postmaster Martin Kilmark informs of an earlier train stop to Co


bottom of page