06-04-2020 Tri-City Area History Page

The Paw Paw River Journal

When worlds collide Life in a protected environment is so much easier. My apartment is serviced and people around the clock to see if I need anything. I am served a good meal (almost always). If I ever need anything, a girl is just a call button away. At this point in my life what’s to complain about. But the whole world is not that way! So easy for me to forget that most people in this life are still struggling. Many go to bed at night hungry. In so many places people dread a knock on the door, afraid it might be the police. Well, I guess some places in this country that description might apply… sometimes. But generally we have it pretty good in the USA. Must be, because people are still trying to get in! And that brings me to my topic for today, Dear Readers. Our worlds are colliding! There is a downside to this. And we see that downside sometimes under certain circumstances. An American writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, said, “In the deep dark night of the soul, it’s always 3 a.m. in the morning.” What did he mean by that? Ah, ha… you are beginning to see… sometimes we have a time when we awaken in the middle of the night and think dark thoughts. I suspect that most people do, but some won’t admit it. Some can’t talk about it. Occasionally I feel that way… and today I’m going to try to cast off my inhibitions a little. The other night I awakened… yes, it was about 3 a.m. And I was thinking dark thoughts. Is there any meaning to all this? Is there any meaning to anything? What is going to happen to all of us? Why are we here? I was like standing at the edge of a yawning abyss, looking into darkness! It was a horrible feeling! And I immediately started trying to cast it out. Took some work too! I tried to concentrate on the positive things in our life here. Back to the words I started this story with… I’m not starving! Some people in this world go to bed hungry every night. By all standards we have it pretty good! This morning I ate fruit, pancakes, bacon, and washed it all down with coffee, orange juice, and prune juice. I have great family, friends, and health workers. Around my neck I have a pendant. All I have to do is press that, and someone will come to see what I need. Some of the girls here have become friends. A few even come to me for advice. I guess they figure I couldn’t have reached this age without learning something. Hah! Never in the world did I think I would become a ‘life coach’ for young ladies. Although, I’ll admit, I have quite a few years of trying to steer kids into positive choices and thought-provoking ideas. I have a young teacher whom I have been mentoring. She soaks up ideas like a sponge. The other day I laughingly suggested that I am becoming her life coach. She admitted it! And I’m thinking… if so, I came in through the back door. It’s nice to have someone ask you for advice. Another gratifying aspect to life is that I just rounded out almost three-quarters of a century with the best woman in the world. When we met, we were both raw and unrefined. I can’t take credit for the great person she became, but I am most pleased to think that over that time we grew together and formed a family. Not perfect, but magnificent and most meaningful to me now. No doubt in my mind that now she is in the arms of God! The same goes with our oldest daughter. We were delighted to have her for seventy-one years. And she was truly a child of the universe. Computers held no mystery for her! I could call her on the phone and she could cast the evil demons out of my laptop by telling me what to do. She had reared her own family most successfully along with her husband, Gary. I’m sure he is every bit as bereft as I am at the loss of his life’s companion. I hope he is as sure that she is in the arms of God as I am! I find it most gratifying that I can have an honest ‘give and take’ session with our children. They have all lived long enough to form their own philosophies. So I find talking with them productive and interesting. They have made me feel in so many ways that all the years we nurtured them are now paying off, and they are helping me. Do you see what I’m trying to do here? It’s how I tried to combat the bad influence caused by being awake in the middle of the night and staring into a black hole of despair. When we lived in Ann Arbor we had a neighbor who was always living in the past. One day she complained to Marion about how ten years ago life was so much better. Marion said, “Millie, ten years from now you’ll be saying the same thing about now. Why don’t you get dressed, put on your makeup and start living!” Another lady I know listened to her daughter complain, “I just broke up with my boyfriend, this morning I had a fender bender and got a ticket, school isn’t going well. What am I ever going to do?” The lady said, “Go soak in the shower, put Visine in your eyes, put on your big girl panties and get out and kick ***!” Good advice for anybody who wants to weave more golden threads into this Great Tapestry of Life in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River!

Watervliet Riding Academy… Camp Watervliet for Girls… Watervliet Family Dude Ranch… did you ever take lessons or trail ride at the Watervliet Riding Academy? Do you ride today? English or Western, which is your favorite? If you would like to share a horse riding experience or recognize any of the persons in this photo, please contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330, info@northberrienhistory.org or facebook.com/NorthBerrienHistory/. The museum is closed until further notice. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

Watervliet District Library News

The Summer Reading Program, “Imagine Your Story”, will begin June 15 and continue through the month of July. Book give-aways, STEAM & craft packet take-home projects and weekly prize drawings will be offered. Activities to interest every age and reading stage! The Third Monday Book Club will meet online again this month, June, to discuss “Small Fry” by Lisa Brennan-Jobs. Copies are available through OverDrive, the library’s ebook platform. Please contact the library with any questions. Check the Library’s Facebook page for next week’s programming schedule. Watch a story hour post any time your schedule allows. Share your photos, opinions, thoughts and suggestions whenever you have a moment to relax. Please feel free to reach out to staff through Facebook, or email (info@wdlib.org). If you need to speak to the director, call the library at 463-6382 and follow the prompts. The library is closed until further notice.

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 readcoloma@gmail.com. Want to do some local research while staying at home? The Library has an extensive archive of local newspaper editions including the Coloma Courier, Watervliet Record, and Tri-City Record. The link is found on the right-hand side of the Library’s home page (colomapubliclibrary.net). A library card is not needed to access this wealth of historical knowledge. Parents turned homeschoolers can find help with databases such as School Center from Learning Express Library. With School Center, kids in grades 4 through 12 can improve math, writing, grammar, and social studies skills. Go to home page of Michigan eLibrary (mel.org) and select the option for “Kids”. Sign up for a digital card from the Coloma Public Library. A free card is available for residents or business owners in the legal service area. Visit www.colomapubliclibrary.net and click on “Catalog” in the banner and look for the “Sign Up” button near the top right corner.


100 years ago – 1920 Bootleggers delivered contraband Canadian whiskey to the home of Cecil Stewart. Arrests were made, the transporting car was overtaken and “Get out of that car,” was heard. After much scuffle, the gang of professional bootleggers was broke. The demand of cottages for this season has been heavy at the Paw Paw Lake properties. Resort owners are busy with painting, new screens, additions and construction changes. It is proposed to celebrate Flag Day and Neighbors’ Day this June 12. 60 years ago – 1960 The Memorial Day address was given at the cemetery following the annual parade. Cub Scout Pack 10, Boy Scout Troop 10, Girl Scout Troops 74 and 197 participated. Chaplain Irving Gale gave the message. The Citizens Advisory school committee proposes the issue of a $1,430,000 bond. Plans include a new high school, adding classrooms to existing buildings and bus storage. Funeral services were held for Irving O’Leary. He held the post of Hagar Township supervisor as well as being a justice of the peace. Burial is in North Shore Memory Gardens. Brick School gave its year-end Music Festival. Superintendent Alwood gave the closing remarks. 30 years ago – 1990 Area voters will go to the polls to decide the fate of our school. Our only ballot question is to renew the operational millages. Tiffany Bailey is the Green and Gold Award recipient. Principal Harold Wheeler made the announcement at the commencement exercises. Rockey Adams is Outstanding Citizen for the month of June. He attends Washington Elementary and loves to read and play baseball. Nancy’s Furniture is having a Price Knock-Down Sale. Largest selection in the area! Free delivery. Coloma High School top honor students are Tiffany Bailey, Pamela Kutchinski, Lisa Lentz, Jeffrey Nelson, Wendy Stampfly, Michael Steck, Nicole Weber and Laura Wessendorf. 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 Two new six-inch wells and four four-inch wells at the village springs southeast of town will prove an effective solution of Hartford’s water shortage. Thirty-two graduates received diplomas during Commencement exercises held at the opera house Thursday evening. The program was almost exclusively in the hands of the graduates, and it was not only impressive and inspiring but indicative of exceptional talent. In a cycle of moves Monroe Gifford and family have moved to the Mrs. A.J. Bartlett home on Haver Street, R.M. Thomas and family have moved into the house in the east part of town vacated by Mrs. Gifford, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Yates have moved into the house on Michigan Avenue vacated by Mr. Thomas and Misses Frankie and Nettie Hurlbut have moved into the house vacated by Mr. and Mrs. Yates. 75 years ago – 1945 The meat shortage which has shrunken the larders of many cities of the country for months suddenly tightened its grip on Hartford this week. Butchers laid the lack of meat to two factors: heavy purchases by non-residents of the Hartford area and lack of supply occasioned by price inequalities. The village’s two meat markets, Hartford Market and Victory Market were both closed Wednesday and the latter remained closed Thursday. Plans for operation of a prisoner of war camp by fruit growers in Van Buren County have been abandoned because of sharply decreased labor demands as a result of frost. Whatever prisoner labor is needed in the county will be supplied from a camp now in operation at Coloma. 50 years ago – 1970 A $2.35 million bond issue was rejected by Hartford voters Monday, 385 to 229. The issue was for the construction of a new middle school building for fifth through eighth grades. The defeat of the bond issue would force a cutback in the junior high school program and the purchase of three portable classrooms. The district currently has five portable classrooms in use, three at the south school and two at the north grade school. Pamela Davis, 14, escaped without injury but her horse was so badly hurt it had to be destroyed after the animal bolted into the path of a car near Rush Lake. State police and Miss Davis told them a loud muffler on a car frightened her horse, which bolted from behind some bushes into the path of an oncoming car. The girl jumped from her horse just before the car hit the horse. Submitted by Librarian Stephanie Daniels at Hartford Public Library from microfilm copies of the Hartford Day Spring. Hours: Re-opening Monday, June 8 Phone: 269-621-3408


90 years ago – 1930 Miss Lillian Volay, grade supervisor of the Watervliet Schools, will attend the University of Michigan during this summer. The senior class of 1930 of the Watervliet High School presented the school with a new desk for the Superintendent’s office. The Pere Marquette is announcing a special low round trip rate to Chicago on June 25, 1930, for the Military Tournament and Exposition in that city. Go see the U.S. Army in action with artillery, cavalry and infantry maneuvers, tanks, airplanes and cannons. The return trip is 25 cents. 60 years ago – 1960 Miss Sandra Bullard and John Rogers were named the outstanding girl and boy of the senior class on June 2, 1960, at the 71st Commencement program. Sandra and John were chosen in recognition of their high qualities of scholarship, honor, courage, leadership and service. It has been announced that the 1960 Watervliet school census stands at 2,198. This is an increase of 231 over last year’s 1,967. Among the 94 graduates at the 13th annual commencement of the Benton Harbor Community College, will be two from Watervliet; Juanita Marie Anthony and Patricia Cornelia Keller, both will be awarded Associates in Science degrees. 30 years ago – 1990 Watervliet Youth Outreach is made up of junior and senior high school students with subgroups in the elementary schools. The purpose of the W.Y.O. is to help young people believe in themselves enough to stand up to peer pressure. This year’s theme is “We Can Make a Change”. On May 11, 1990, W.Y.O. was presented with the Jim Hartman Memorial Award. This award is given by the Tri County Coalition Against Alcohol and other Drugs, to a school with exemplary substance abuse prevention programs. Abby Winkle, a third grade student at Watervliet South School, received the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principal Association (MEMSPA) Award on May 31, 1990. This honor is given throughout Michigan to one student. Abby was chosen for her exemplary performance in all academic areas, citizenship and extracurricular activities. On May 19, 1990, Jason Kiernan of Watervliet was among the top 25 in his grade level at the State Mathematics Finals at Central Michigan University. About 600 students from grades 6, 7 and 8 took the test. Jason, a sixth grader at North Elementary School, took 13th place with his grade level.

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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