06-17-2017 Tri-City Area History Page

Badt’s Drug Store, Coloma

 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

The Tooth Fairy, Compact Cars…

 …and helping your neighbor. What do all those things have in common? Well, pull up a chair and I will enlighten you! Because the tooth fairy was not helping me a bit! I had one that was aching. I could feel it with my tongue and it was in back… couldn’t leave it alone. But you all know how that is.

So I got an appointment with my dentist. At that time it was John Laman, who has since graduated into glorious retirement. We still correspond, but he did so many teeth he would surely not remember that one. He said, “Well, Bud, it is cracked right down the middle. Don’t know whether it could be saved or not. So I’m going to send you to an endodontist in Kalamazoo… we’ll let him call the shot on this one. If it can be saved, he is the one who could do it!”

When I was a kid, I hated going to the dentist. Back in those days it was Dr. Van Riper, and his office was upstairs in the old Hartford bank building. I was unhappy to go to see him, because back then we only went if we were having a problem. That involved pain, and more pain when we got it fixed! Now it is a pleasant experience… no problem sitting back in a comfortable patient’s chair, because I know the first thing they will do is numb the area, and it doesn’t hurt at all!

Back before my time it was even more primitive. I talked with Doc Hinckley about that once. He lived to be 103 years old, and practiced dentistry in that same bank building until he was 100! He told me that he kept a jug of whiskey by the patient’s chair. If there was an impending extraction, and the poor victim with the toothache so desired, he could take a long pull on the jug to get fortified for the travail to come. I don’t know what a lady patient would do. I can’t imagine one tipping up a jug of whiskey!

Doc said one day a man came rushing into his office. He was one of Hartford’s older philosophers and a longtime sampler of the delights of John Barleycorn (whiskey). He said, “Doc, I’ve got an awful tooth! Can you yank it out right now?”

Doc replied, “Sure, just get into the chair over there and we’ll take care of it!”

The old resident scratched his whiskered chin thoughtfully and said, “Well, it’ll probably hurt a lot. Haven’t you got anything to sort of deaden the pain?”

“Sure,” Doc said soothingly, “There’s a jug right by the chair. Just take a little sample and then we’ll get to work.”

The patient grabbed the jug, tilted it up, with the contents gurgling down his throat. After a while he put down the jug, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, looked around the room at all the instruments waiting and said, “You know, Doc, that tooth don’t hardly hurt any more at all. Think I’ll wait and see if it just quiets down!” And grabbing his hat he bolted out the door and down the stairs, the sound of his footsteps diminishing in the distance.

So anyway, back to my aching tooth… the Chief Accountant and I made the trip to Kalamazoo. It was a dark and stormy day… rain pelting down, and at the time we had a