06-25-2020 Tri-City Area History Page

The Paw Paw River Journal

etter to an unborn great-grandchild

Our youngest daughter, Laurie, and Jim are awaiting the birth of their first grandchild. She asked me to write a letter that will be placed in a book of nursery rhymes as a present. Sure, I can do that… but it will take a little thought. And I have been dragging up memories. The expectant mother was just a toddler, and I can see her in my mind’s eye riding her little tricycle around the house, wearing my hat which she had picked up from where I had taken it off. We were present many times as little Kelly grew up, went through high school, started her career and got married. She and husband Brad are now expecting their first. So here is my letter to that future person… someone who will grow up in a world that hasn’t even been invented yet!

Dear Unknown Great-Grandkid, You don’t know me yet, but I hope you do for at least a few years. I am in the twilight of life, and yours has not yet begun. You are going to be a citizen of a world that hasn’t even been imagined. I was talking to a kid who fixed computers. I asked him about that. He told me that the world of computers is doubling every 18 months. That was a few years ago, probably it’s even less now. I have seen most of our modern stuff being born, or at least being developed. Yeah, I’m older than dirt! But don’t let that be off-putting. When the wind is North by Northwest, I can still tell a hawk from a handsaw (literary allusion – see Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”). I still have my marbles… at least most of them. So I hope you listen to my advice. I was talking to a lady who has a 19-year-old son. I asked her if he had gotten involved with a gang. She said she’s afraid so. And she had sadness in her eyes. Don’t do that! You will surely live to regret it. If you do your own thinking you will realize that it must be you who makes the decisions on your fate. Get an education. I don’t mean just details… stuff like dates and that. Learn to think. Seek out people to listen to who are thinkers! Soak in stuff like a sponge. In order to do that, you have to be aware. I mean you have to be ‘in the moment’. You can’t go through life filling your intellectual gas tank with ‘I only wish…,’ or ‘if only I could… Be there! Carpe Diem! (seize the day) I don’t know about your dad’s genetic background. But I do know your mom’s… she is a thinker. She comes from a long line of thinkers. And doers. Her mom was a woman of action and imagination. At one stage in high school I was her English teacher. And I shoved every worthwhile book I could think of into her book bag. She soaked it all in. Her mom was Marion and my wife. She was the best RN I have ever known. And she had a lot of compassion. I can’t emphasize how important it is for you to be able to empathize with other people. You don’t have to suffer the company of fools (at least for very long). But you must be kind to everyone and sympathize with the problems that other people have. I have known a few who couldn’t do that. They were hollow, empty, and almost always very selfish. You wouldn’t believe how successful some of them have been. They built their careers on broken relationships and backstabbing friends along the way. The world is a fearful place. Probably when you are a kid you will believe there are monsters under your bed. That will be a product of your imagination. There aren’t any. But I wouldn’t give a nickel for a kid who doesn’t have any imagination! You will grow out of the monster thing. And there are other real monsters that you will have to face, hopefully later on in life. Expect the best, but prepare for the worst… just in case! Your grandparents were baby boomers. And there are a lot of them because when we came home from World War II, we got married and had several children. Your grandparents didn’t have so many children. I hope there will be enough coming up in your parents’ generation to take care of them. I don’t know what it will be like when you are old. I can’t even imagine that. My generation saved the world in a great war. I hope that is the last one. I know, we’ve been fighting dirty little conflicts time after time. I’m afraid another big war would be the end of the world. I don’t know how to prepare you for that one. I just hope it never happens. Well, Kid, I can’t think of much else to tell you. I hope you have a great life. I know we have. We loved, learned, lived, and had our share of excitement. I can do no more than wish the same for you! Once in a while think of us. That may turn out to be part of our immortality. And meanwhile we are off to even greater adventures! Your great aunt Becky has some of my records in the journals that I wrote. Perhaps someday you will want to read what it was like as we were weaving golden threads into The Great Tapestry of Life in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River! With love and affection, Great-Grandpa Bud (Roy M. Davis BS, MA, PhD, USAF Ret.)

Do you remember attending a family reunion or perhaps a church picnic? Notice the wooden chairs and tables. Are you among the attendees of this gathering or do you recognize any of the individuals? If you could help identify the folks at this gathering, please contact North Berrien Historical Museum to share your knowledge at 269-468-3330, or info@northberrienhistory.org. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

Watervliet District Library News Curbside is open at the Watervliet District Library. Anyone can contact the library through the following methods to request material: phone 269-463-6382; email info@wdlib.org, or message them through Facebook. Patrons can also request items through the library’s catalog at www.watervlietlibrary.net and scrolling down to the “Search Our Catalog” button. Items are limited to five per card holder. The staff is also happy to browse for patrons, answer their questions and search for subjects they’d like to discover. Curbside hours are: Monday, 10-2; Tuesday, 10-2; Wednesday, 4-8; Thursday, 10-2, Friday, 10-2, and Saturday, 12-2. The library’s digital content has also been expanded. Quick access to online books and information can be found through the library’s catalog home page with OverDrive online book and audio platform, TeenBookCloud, AudioBookCloud, and RomanceBookCloud. All are just a click away. Staff is back in the building and eager to start processing new print materials. Check the catalog for details of titles added to the library’s collection. New book lists will be shared on Facebook as well. Third Monday Book Club The Third Monday Book Club will discuss two books in July: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See and Shirley Jackson’s classic book of horror, The Haunting of Hill House. Anyone can contact the library if they would like to attend. Gift copies are available to any participant. Summer Reading Program Summer Reading Program materials are distributed each Monday at the Watervliet Middle School, along with the school’s free lunch program. Books-to-keep, a bingo-card score sheet and take-home crafts are all available to kids of all ages. Keep in mind that staff are happy to add curbside books to the mix to keep summer readers happy and engaged in a good book. Summer Reading online: Check out the library’s Facebook page for a weekly Social Media Challenge! Everyone taking part is automatically entered into a $15 gift card drawing, for lots of local eateries.


100 years ago – 1920 The commencement exercise for Berrien County’s eighth grade students was held at St. Joseph High School. Coloma students are Alice Cole, Richard Fletcher, Flossie Hazen, Fred Heidbreder, Iva Rorick, Elsie Tacy and Lloyd Warman. Miss Gladys Crumb was tendered a most delightful pre-nuptial shower by the telephone operators. The bride-elect won the booby prize. Ice cream and cake were served. Every Thursday evening the Coloma band will perform a concert in the village park. Plan to attend this very pleasant evening. 60 years ago – 1960 “Blessing of the Creatures” will be held at Deer Forest Animal Park. The park animals will be blessed by Father Wheeler as he proceeds down Story Book Lane. Also, Mona, the golden spider monkey will, again dance and pose for visitors. Ground was broken for the addition to the Elward Manufacturing Company on Baker Street. Mr. Virgil Dorstewitz, owner said the addition will be a 50 by 50 cement block building. Mr. and Mrs. John Besemer will have their grandchildren for an extended visit. The children are from Garden Grove, California. 30 years ago – 1990 A request to annex a piece of Township property to the City has been made. Dr. Michael Mayle intends to remodel a building on Red Arrow Highway into doctor’s offices. Top fund raisers for Math-A-Thon are Kathryn Harris, Tara Sieber and Jessica Salmon. Jessica donated $24.00 of her own money that she was saving to buy a pet for the fair. All girls attend Washington Elementary. Now Open! Subway – My Way! North Paw Paw, Beautiful Downtown Coloma. Sandwiches – Salads The Kelly-Miller Bros. three-ring circus is coming. Tickets available at the Movie Zoo; $7.00 and $4.00. William Bridgman Jr. graduates with honors from Mid-America Bible College. He is a 1977 CHS graduate. Submitted by volunteer Sandi Musick Munchow at Coloma Public Library from the Coloma Courier newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Curbside Service Hours: Mon-Fri 12-6 and Sat 10-2 Phone: 269-468-3431


100 years ago – 1920 The work of laying concrete on Hartford’s new concrete road will start again within a few days after being delayed all spring through inability to secure a supply of cement. A car load a day is used, which will permit the laying of cement four days a week. The grading has been completed on West Main Street from the Pere Marquette crossing to the old cemetery, and the cement will be laid on this first link – completing the new road from the village to the Berrien County line. The grading has also been completed on East Main and when the cement starts coming the work will begin a mile east of town and the concrete laid to the village. Hartford fishermen have been having fine sport with the black bass since the opening of the season. Several good catches have been reported, while Jack Martin is a lucky angler who returned two evenings in succession with his legal catch of ten fine specimens. 75 years ago – 1945 Operations of the Thomas Farms, once one of the largest dairy farms in this section of the state, were terminated this week when 97 head of purebred Jersey cattle were moved to Tecumseh. The farms were sold some time ago, with J.C. Van Lierop, local bulb grower, purchasing the bulk of the property. At the height of operations, the Thomas Farms comprised some 700 acres. Activity was confined to raising Jersey cattle and hogs. A dairy herd of 100 cows was maintained. The farm has been in operation on a large scale since 1934. It was owned by the late Dr. and Mrs. Paul A. Thomas. Dale Dean, who has managed the Thomas Farms for the last 8-1/2 years, will move to Tecumseh to manage a farm owned by Frank Smith, one owned by Curtis Brown and another named Maple Ridge owned jointly by Dean, Smith, Brown and Jans Touborg. The Thomas herd of Jerseys was purchased by the four men. 50 years ago – 1970 A new modern building at the Van Buren County Youth Fairgrounds will be a big change from the old orange barns which have been traditional with fairs here for many years. The building will house exhibits, fair offices and rest rooms. A smaller building will be built to the right of the new one by the Van Buren County Sheriff Department. The midway will begin at the rear of the new structure and will curve slightly to the southeast. Roger Hallgren issued a plea this week for donation of toys for the migrant program at the north elementary school. Submitted by Librarian Stephanie Daniels at Hartford Public Library from microfilm copies of the Hartford Day Spring. Revised Hours: Mon – Fri 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Phone: 269-621-3408


90 years ago – 1930 Uriah Wood, one of two surviving Civil War Veterans of Watervliet, celebrated his 89th birthday on July 4, 1930. The United States of America was only 65 years old as a nation when he was born. Woods’ early boyhood days were passed in Van Buren County and he enlisted in the Army in 1862, taken prisoner in 1863 and held in Andersonville and other confederate prisons until the end of the war. His family and friends from near and far gathered at his home on St. Joseph Street for the occasion. Paul Jones has fixed a unique window featuring Watervliet Hardware’s fishing equipment. There is a stream, a water wheel turning, real fish and a man fishing with artificial bait, but not as yet has he caught any of the fish. 60 years ago – 1960 Something of unusual interest came recently from the Watervliet Community Hospital where eight babies were born within five days and every one of them was a girl. Parents of three of the girls are Watervliet residents. They are: Victoria Lynn Frazier, born June 8; Julie Marie Hunee, born June 11 and Sheila Denise Calvert, also born June 11, 1960. Miss Lynne Ruth Conrad has been accepted at Valparaiso University, Indiana. A June graduate of WHS, Miss Conrad plans to major in elementary education. Michael A. Lester, Watervliet, enlisted in the U.S. Army on June 7, 1960. Pvt. Lester will receive training in the Arm Security Agency after he completes 8 weeks of basic training. Sgt. Smith stated, “Mike selected and qualified for this assignment before he enlisted.” 30 years ago – 1990 Jim Timmons will long remember that a little plastic duck won him $1,000. Whether he remembers that it was at the 1st Annual Watervliet Independence Day Celebration 100 yard Duck Dash is another question. The Watervliet District Library was presented a gift by the owners of the Antique Mall, Karen and Dan Stice. The Library now has on display, framed copies of “The Declaration of Independence”, “Bill of Rights” and “ The Declaration of Rights”. Of the 175 runners starting, 166 completed the 4th Annual Gene Bednarowski Memorial Run on June 30, 1990. The run was sponsored by the Watervliet Athletic Boosters in memory of beloved teacher and track coach, Gene Bednarowski. Winning the 5K run overall was Tim Dine of St. Joseph with a time of 16 minutes, 38 seconds. Winning overall for the women was Vicki Wyatt of Watervliet. She finished 22nd overall in the field. Submitted by Sally Q. Gonzalez from files at Watervliet District Library of the Watervliet Record newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Curbside Service Hours: Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri 10-2; Wed 4-8; Sat, 12-2 Phone: 269-463-6382


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