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05-16-2019 Tri-City Area History Page

The Paw Paw River Journal

Harmless little scams Have you ever gone snipe hunting? Or floor sacking? No? Well let me tell you about these harmless little scams, tricks to be played on an unwary or unsophisticated victim. The first one I’ve never discussed before. The second one I did write about, but it was sometime back. For snipe hunting the only equipment you need is a large bag, preferably one of some kind of mesh so that it can hold a small animal but allow it to breathe. The snipe is harmless, small, and only comes out at night. So that’s why most people have never seen one. You also should have some sticks for beating the bushes to drive the snipe in a certain direction. Tell the victim you’re going to take him out snipe hunting. You need some place with long avenues… like a vineyard. In the dark of the moon, the darker the better, you go out to this vineyard and place the unwary victim at one end. You tell him to hold the bag with the mouth open. The rest of you will go down to the other end, rattling grapevines with your sticks. And you will drive the snipe right into the mouth of the bag. Then you go home. Some hours later the victim will come in, chastened, and vowing never to go snipe hunting again! I never did this, but we used to enjoy floor sacking when we were kids and studying for the gallows (a little harem scarum, but never doing anything really bad). On the east edge of town there was a gravel road stretching out to the south. It was quiet except for the occasional farmer traveling back and forth. On a hot summer afternoon we gathered together what portion of our gang was available. One of our moms was sure to have an empty 25-pound flour sack. We would get that, fill it with rags or straw. Light weight but looking as though it were full. We tied it shut with binder twine. This is a stout brown skinny rope used for tying up bales of hay. On that gravel road there was an adjacent cornfield. Just right! We placed the flour sack at the edge of the road, carefully covering up the string that led off into the cornfield. Then we settled down a few rows in and waited for victims. Hot summer day, and there at the edge of the road lay a pristine sack (supposedly) of flour! We were hot, dusty, and stifling our laughter. Along came a Ford Model A… a farmer going into town for supplies. Whoa! There’s a new floor sack! Must’ve fallen off the back end of somebody’s truck! He jammed on the brakes, and while he was getting stopped and backing up we reeled in the sack and retreated farther back in the corn. The farmer backed up, drove back and forth a few times, and once in a while would even get out and search up and down. Finally shaking his head in disgust, he got in the truck again and started off… doubting his sanity, or at least his eyesight. One time a member of our gang was a little late in hauling on the string. The farmer got out and was actually holding the sack when he jerked it right out of the guy’s arms. The farmer yelled in fright, jumped in his truck and roared off down the road. But then, alas, tragedy struck! The same farmer came along who had been fooled before. He spotted the innocent looking flour sack beside the road. Never slowing down he just edged over far enough to pop the bag, sending the straw contents all over. Then he beeped the horn… ahoooooga! And continued down the road. I’m sure he was laughing his head off! We decided then and there we would have to find a new location and new victims! I’m sure some of our tricks made people grit their teeth and look a little beady-eyed. But actually those were pretty innocent times. Truth be told I’m sure many people say they would trade what’s going on in the world today for them. I’m not going to turn this into a sermonette, but don’t you wish just a little bit that we could go back to the way things used to be? I know, I know, the toothpaste is out of the tube and can’t be put back in! Like the poor kid who looked around at his ghetto existence and said, “What it is!” But it’s our life! And we can do better… we can weave more golden threads into The Great Tapestry of Life in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River.

“My boyfriend Marshall Brunden, Watervliet, Michigan” Who was the young photographer? Is this St. Joseph Street in Watervliet? Stop by the NBHS Museum or give them a call at 468-3330 with information on this photo. North Berrien Historical Museum is always interested in photos, stories or information sharing. The museum can be contacted by email to From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

Watervliet District Library News Teen Table Projects: May Stop-Motion Station – Use library laptop or your phone but definitely use their props. The Academy Awards awaits! Genealogy Basics Thur. May 16, 6:30 – 8 p.m. Discover more tools to your past with local history & genealogy enthusiast Carole Kiernan; Q & A, too! Third Monday Book Club May 20, 7 – 8 p.m. Great books, fabulous conversations! Ask for a copy at the desk. This month: The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles. Yoga Monday 9 – 10 a.m., Wednesday 7 – 8 p.m., Friday 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.; Chair Yoga – Wednesdays 6 – 6:30 p.m. Book a Social Work Intern! Tuesdays 1–4 p.m. Thanks to an LSTA grant through the Niles Library, Watervliet Library will have a shared intern. Need help with on-line applications, unemployment or housing? She can help with questions or problems. Library Garden Park Purchase a Legacy Walk brick and celebrate a memory! Bricks are $75; 13 characters, two lines. Pick up a form at the library. Call 463-6382 with questions on any Watervliet Library activity.

Coloma Public Library News Story Hour Coloma Public Library Story Hour for toddlers and preschoolers is Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Children join Miss Amy for engaging stories, crafts, and songs. Miss Amy has been performing Coloma’s story times since 2004 and her last one will be Wednesday, May 22. The staff is holding a special celebration as they say a heartfelt goodbye to someone who has brought joy to many children. Book Club The Coloma Public Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, May 16 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones. Depending on demand there may be titles available for check-out at the front desk. The book club regularly meets every other Thursday. New members are gladly welcomed. Join them for a lively book discussion! Homework Help The Library provides kids with free online access to Learning Express Library. Learning Express can help students with math and English language arts. These resources can be accessed from their home or the Library computers. Stop in for more details. DIY Car Repair Users can save money by repairing their own vehicle. The Library provides free access to AutoMate, an online service with repair information including diagrams, step-by-step instructions, service alerts, and recalls. Thousands of domestic and import vehicles are included. Call 468-3431 with questions on any Coloma Library activity.


100 years ago – 1919 The Victory Loan campaign has ended, reaching $100,000 above its goal. Coloma is one township that went over the top. Thus, Berrien can wear the “plus” chevron for subscribing more than was asked. Herbert Kipple, jailed for larceny on a boxcar and for robbing the P.M. depot, has escaped from jail. He and three others sawed through the bars. He was awaiting trial and has already served a two-year term for larceny. 60 years ago – 1959 Coloma’s Blossom Parade float advertises the Paw Paw Lakes. It was furnished with a boat, motor and water skis, provided by Crystal Bait and Marine. The Coloma Rod & Gun Club will have its 11th annual bird dog spring field trials at the Alton White farm. Permanent trophies and ribbons will be awarded to winners. A pot-luck dinner has been scheduled. Mrs. Mamie Virkus has sold property along Park Street and a parcel along West Street that runs to Salem Lutheran Church property on Marvin Street. There are plans to plat the property for home sites in the future. 30 years ago – 1989 Shining bright red with the words “Coloma Fire Dept.,” the new fire truck stands proudly in its bay. Training has begun for the crew. Winners of the 1989 Good Health Poster Contest at Community Hospital have been announced. This year, all cash prizes were awarded to Coloma entrants. Mark Sieber, Mike Rodewald and Erick Wonson proudly hold their poster and ribbon for an official photo. Highlighting Coloma Senior Drama Club members: John Bower has been president and member for four years. He has been in sixteen plays. John Willming has been involved in four plays, being stage manager of one. Jim Walke is vice president and a four year member. He’s been in twelve plays. 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 – 1919 The recent cold rains are being followed by a week of ideal weather, and farmers are rushing the spring work which the weather had delayed. Now that the sun has pierced the clouds local fruit growers appear more optimistic over the damage wrought by cold rains while orchards were in bloom. A dancing party will be given at the Hartford town hall with music by Clay’s orchestra. This is the orchestra that has been engaged to play at Silver Beach. 75 years ago – 1944 Miss Mary Lee, a graduate of Hartford High School in 1940, has enlisted in the army nurses’ corps. She has been commissioned a second lieutenant. The eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Milton Lee, Lt. Lee received her degree as a registered nurse from St. Camillus school of nursing, Borgess Hospital. Hartford’s service center will begin operation when members of Mothers of World War II will entertain servicemen and their wives at an open house. During the afternoon, refreshments will be served at the center, located in the Chamberlin building at the corner of Main and Center streets. Much of the work of cleaning the building and preparing it for use as a service center has been done by John Robertson, Leonard Miska, and Richard Frontizak, under the direction of Mrs. Cecle Connolly, Mrs. Stanley Brown, Mrs. Roy Swinford and Mrs. William Builard. 50 years ago – 1969 The Jaycees will hold an open house to display the Hartford Blossomtime float. The float is located in a steel building on Red Arrow Highway one mile east of CR681. Miss Hartford, Miss Regina Moore described Blossomtime activities to Marine Cpl. Bruce Trebel of Mason City, Iowa at Great Lakes Naval Hospital. Miss Hartford was one of 32 area queens who visited wounded Vietnam servicemen at the hospital. Senior and junior bands will be featured in a spring concert in the high school gymnasium. Called a pops concert, it will feature music from marches to show tunes. Proceeds from the concert will be used for new band uniforms. 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 – 1929 The Watervliet School Band directed by Fred H. Null was awarded first prize for Class C School Bands in the State Musical Contest held at East Lansing. The band has been engaged by the City of Watervliet to furnish the Saturday Nights Municipal Concerts during the summer months. To Lloyd Bishop, a rural mail carrier out of Watervliet, goes the honor of being the president of the Berrien County Rural Carrier Association for the coming year. Mr. and Mrs. Ward Morlock are the proud parents of an eight and one-half pound boy, born May 26, 1929. His name is Robert Kenneth. 60 years ago – 1959 Forty WHS seniors graduated on May 28, 1959. The address, ‘Hitch Your Wagon to a Star’ was given by Rev. Glenn Shoun, pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church. The invocation and benediction was given by the Rev. Wayne Thompson, pastor of the Free Methodist Church. Flowers and ice cream bars greeted visitors at the opening of Watervliet’s new city library on May 15, 1959. The opening was attended by Mayor Clair Sheppard. ‘Hank and Red’, as they are known to Watervliet folks, have pushed the back wall of their grocery several feet and moved their meat department into the new area. The Levertons feel that the changes will offer better service to their customers. 30 years ago – 1989 Mindy Elsen, Executive Secretary to Mr. David Whitwam, CEO of Whirlpool, was a guest speaker for the careers and employability skill class at WHS. Shana Bell, a second-grader in Mrs. Van Winkle’s class, has been chosen ‘Student of the Week’. Shana is a very conscientious and caring young lady. She puts forth a good effort in all her daily work. Her creative writing work is especially impressive. Shana is well-liked and is a loving friend. Heather McCabe, 17, will attend a State Department of Education Summer Institute at Hope College. She was also inducted into the National Honor Society. 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


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