06-28-2018 History

The Paw Paw River Journal

Eating from boxes and cans It was dinner time, and I was the designated cook. So I got a Marie Callender frozen dinner and put it in the microwave. It was sweet and sour chicken… one of our favorites. As I waited for it to thaw, I was thinking back to a time when I was also eating from boxes and cans. Back then I was not living in our big old house with my favorite Chief Accountant. I was living in a tent on the great plain of Burma… Air Force and World War II. We had a screened-in mess hall with cooks who worked wonders with what they had. Our food came in boxes and cans. My favorite any time of day was pancakes. They made wonderful pancakes, served with powdered eggs, scrambled, or canned sausages. We also had food we could take with us. Ten in One rations consisted of a square cardboard box with 10 cans of food. Meat and beans, spaghetti, hamburgers and gravy, hash, etc. Sounds pretty good from this distance. But at the time we got pretty tired of the sameness. Each can came with a little opener and a spoon. The box was so designed that it would feed 10 men for one day, or one man for 10 days. I always kept a box on the floor underneath my cot just in case of emergencies. The other rations we could have anywhere any time were called K rations. These came in a little box shaped like crackerjack, only slightly larger. Sealed with a wax coating, they were designed to survive in any temperature… olive green in color. Cartons of them were always available. Whenever I made a trip across the Hump, I stuffed one or two of them in my flight jacket, just in case. Each box contained a small can of meat or scrambled eggs and also a spoon to eat it with. There was a tropical candy bar… Chocolate that would not melt whatever the temperature. I tried eating one, and I think it was made with wax or something. There was also a package of gum, crackers, and a little box with four cigarettes. These were a brand I’d never heard of. They tasted like they were made from a combination of straw and stable sweepings… very little straw. But if you’re talking about survival, K rations would help! I had just been transferred in from the Upper Assam Valley, Northeastern India. Here in Burma we had just a few C 47s which I had never flown before. Back in India we had only C 46s, which is also a twin engine transport but larger. Several of us were sitting in the operations office, when the Chief of Operations came through. His reputation was such that most of the guys would say, “Don’t trust him!” He said, “Anybody in here checked out in a C 47?” Nobody moved. “Anybody in here want to get checked out in a C 47?” Nobody moved. Finally, because there was nothing else to do, I raised my hand. So we went out to the flight line, and he showed me the C 47. “There’re the throttles, here’s how you raise and lower the landing gear. Now you’re checked out, and you’re going on a weekend trip with the Colonel. Be back here 1 p.m. for overnight, bring a class A uniform.” And time was so short I couldn’t get any lunch. I grabbed my uniform, equipment, and a can of meat and beans from under my bed. Back to the flight line on the shuttle bus, and the Colonel was just arriving. He didn’t say five words to me. We checked the airplane and took off. After reaching cruising altitude, he set the autopilot, ratcheted his seat back and went to sleep. I got out my can of meat and beans, opened it, and started to eat as I watched the instruments. Suddenly the Colonel sat up, nose twitching, and roared, “What is that awful smell?” “Just my lunch, Sir.” “If you’re going to eat that shit, go in back!” I took the offending can and set it as far away from the cockpit as I could. I guess the Colonel had been over there longer than I had… long enough to be sick of canned food. And before I got back to the United States, I came to understand a little bit more how he felt. Now fast-forward some years… we were all back home again and living our lives. One of my high school friends, Ron, married my sister. God rest their souls, we had many good times together. They had a family, two girls and a boy and lived in Grand Rapids. Right next to them was a huge open field. One summer the National Guard came through on their way to summer maneuvers at Grayling. They stopped to eat lunch and gas up their vehicles. The kids were enchanted by the whole process. They watched from their yard and after everyone was gone they asked their folks if they could go over and see where the Army guys had eaten their lunch. They brought back with them an unopened box of K rations. They asked their dad if they could see what was inside. Ron opened the box and there was the little can of food, candy, gum, crackers, and a little package of cigarettes. The kids looked at the little treasure trove in awe and wonder. Then the middle girl said, “Gol… I wish I was an army guy!” Later when Ron told me about it, we both had to laugh. What a difference in viewpoint as we were all weaving golden threads into the tapestry of our lives in that storybook town along the Paw Paw River.

Coloma Library News The library will be closed on Wednesday, July 4. We will re-open on Thursday, July 5. Have a safe and happy holiday! Libraries Rock! The Coloma Public Library presents “Libraries Rock” during our summer library program. Sign up today! The 2018 Summer Reading Program is open to all young people. There will be programs, prize drawings, storytimes, a reading club, and more for the whole family. For more information, call the library at 468-3431 or visit www.colomapubliclibrary.net. All programs are free of charge. Story Hour Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Toddlers and preschoolers are invited to hear a story, make a craft and sing a song with Miss Amy. There is no sign-up or fee required. It is asked that all children be supervised by an adult during Story Hour. Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, June 28 at 5:30 p.m. The title being discussed is “Daring to Drive” by Manal Al-Sharif. The book club regularly meets every other Thursday and is always looking for new members. Call 468-3431 with any questions.

Watervliet District Library News Teen Table Projects: June Do-it-yourself CD mandalas; all supplies provided. Summer Reading Program The library is pleased to partner with WPS to provide free lunches for kids & teens following each Thursday program. This year’s program includes: June 28 Around the World Magic Show and July 5 Drummunity. Make-It Music Mondays 1 – 2 p.m. Musical instruments to make-n-take for K-6th graders & family: July 2nd Hare’s tae Scotland! (DIY Bag Pipes) Volunteer Nothing looks better on a resume! Best times to help out: Mondays & Thursdays, program times. Stop by to pick up a form. Library Garden Park Purchase a Legacy Walk brick and celebrate a memory! Bricks are $75; 13 characters, 2 lines. Pick up a form at the library. Yoga Monday 9 – 10 a.m.; Wednesday 7 – 8 p.m.; Chair Yoga – Wednesday 6:00-6:45 p.m.


100 years ago – 1918 There have been several automobile accidents in which the store fronts have suffered. Also, the public scales on Church Street opposite Hewitt’s shoe store were wrecked due to a car crash. There is talk of a strong guard rail to offer protection. The barbers, Orrin J. Long and Wm. Scott, announce a new schedule of hours. Where should you spend your Fourth of July? Right in Coloma, the “Gem of Berrien County.” Woodward’s Pavilion will have a family basket picnic, band concerts, a parade, a Patriotic Address and a dancing party. 60 years ago – 1958 Your travel plans have just been made easier. The Mackinac Bridge will have dedication services and will be put into service, linking both peninsulas of the state. Coloma’s own queen, Miss Sandra Repke, has been accepted as an entrant in the 1958 “Miss Michigan” pageant. Father R.G. Thelen announces that mass will be held at Crystal Palace at 10:30 a.m. throughout the summer. This is in addition to mass held at the Catholic church. Technical Sergeant Albert T. Reeves is on temporary duty in Buenos Aires. He is a USAF airman. Births: A girl was born to Mr. and Mrs. George Murray. A boy was born to Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Woodward. 30 years ago – 1988 Joyce Tutton is the new president for Phi Delta Kappa of Andrews University. Outgoing president is Victor Wier. Secretary Dr. Charlotte Groff presented certificates. All three are employed by Coloma Community Schools. Coloma Bible Church announces new summer hours. In addition to Sunday Worship and Sunday School there will be a Wednesday evening prayer service. The Northern Berrien County Chapter #3101 will hold its next meeting at the lower level of the Coloma Township Hall. All A.A.R.P. members are welcome. 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 – 1918 An alarm of fire at seven o’clock Monday morning called the department to the August Ament residence on Olds Street where sparks from a chimney had ignited the roof. Practically all of the park plots at Maple Hill cemetery were sub-divided into burial lots by the township board, at a special meeting held for that purpose last Friday. This action taken was prompted by the fact that some sections of the cemetery were completely sold out. When Maple Hill Cemetery was laid out a quarter of a century ago it was believed to be ample to meet the needs of Hartford for generations. 75 years ago – 1943 Three hills of potatoes, enough to serve eight persons on Father’s Day is the victory garden record of Shurman R. Knapp one of Hartford’s most studious experimenters in back-lot agriculture. Donald Rose left Monday for Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, where he will attend the Navy pre-flight school V-12, to receive training as a naval cadet. Don is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Rose, North Center Street. He was graduated from Hartford high school in May and was one of the leaders of his class. 50 years ago – 1968 The first of three new buildings is under construction at Hartford on Main Street where fire destroyed a business section in February. James Yarbrough, Paw Paw contractor said he is building the structure for MI-Ladies dress shop, now located across the street, and will build two more, one for the Main Tavern and one for Rose Drug Store. The latter two businesses were fire victims. The February fire destroyed six store buildings, some of them nearly a century old. A mechanical strawberry picker was tested last week on the Clifford Moulton farm southeast of Keeler. It was developed by Blueberry Equipment Co., South Haven. The harvester mows off top plant growth, lifts the plants and plucks off berries, with a steel fingered conveyor. Trash is blown out and berries drop thru an air lock into Lugs. The machine can pick one-half to two acres an hour. 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 – 1928 The Ladies’ Aid of the M.E. Church will give a plate dinner in the basement on July 19, 1928. The following is the menu: Mashed potatoes & gravy, Roast Pork, Beet Relish, Escaloped Corn, White or Brown Bread & Butter, Coffee or Iced Tea, Pie, Ice Cream is extra – price 50¢. The work of grading on the town line road, Watervliet, was completed in July 1928. The road is built under the Covert Act and extends east from the Watervliet-Niles road to the Van Buren county line. Watervliet city and township, with a combined assessed valuation of $2,719,490, has a larger assessed valuation than any assessed district in Van Buren County with the exception of the city of South Haven. 60 years ago – 1958 Sam Tavolacci will be discharged from the Army the week of July 4, 1958, after recently returning from Hanau, Germany. Sam is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Tavolacci of Watervliet. Sp/3 Paul E. Gay, son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Gay, received his honorable discharge from the Army at Fort Sheridan, IL and returned to Watervliet. He has been serving in Germany for the past two years. Richard, L. Sadler, son of Mrs. Armella Sadler, Watervliet, has enlisted in the Army for a three-year hitch. He is receiving his Basic training at Fort Know, Kentucky. 30 years ago – 1988 Rev. Adolph Nadrach, Pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church for the past ten years, has retired from the ministry. Nadrach, 72, was honored at a special Mass of Thanksgiving and potluck dinner. A total of 1,485 persons are on the official list of those who received degrees from Western Michigan University at the end of the winter semester of the 1987-88 school year. Among these WMU graduates is Kimberly G. Lottridge of Watervliet. Despite drought conditions that cancelled scheduled fireworks display in Watervliet’s Hays Park, the annual Fourth of July Celebration was an exciting and fun-filled weekend for community members and visitor alike. Saturday’s fourth annual parade was a huge success with 4,000 attending the Watervliet parade. 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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