Kid’s Parade at Glad-Peach Festival An unidentified boy has on a fake beard to compliment his straw hat. His faithful companion is hitched to a hay wagon. If you recognize the boy or his dog, please contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330, firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by Tues.-Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. they would love to hear your stories. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma
The Paw Paw River Journal
Remembrance of things past
The time after World War I up through the Great Depression of 1929 is often called “The Roaring Twenties!” But it wasn’t a time of roaring for everyone. Prohibition was in full swing and speakeasies flourished… illegal places where you paid to get a drink and other things for the right price. Much has been made of that in movies and stories. But most people were glad just to get back to living their lives. The war had sickened everyone. There was a problem with jobs for veterans, but gradually life came back to normal. And actually along with it came prosperity. My folks had eked out a living with the greenhouses. My dad really had to scramble to get enough coal to keep the growing plants warm during the war. Some young people were so disillusioned they went to Europe to live. They were bright, creative, and many settled in Paris. They became known as The Lost Generation, and I will write more about them later. Here in the U.S. life was getting back to normal. My folks prospered… in fact, the year I was born (1924) they were doing so well they bought a new car and a new truck for the business. Life was much simpler and local shops thrived because everyone shopped at home. The Hartford bank was built in 1910. One of the young men who worked therein was Marion “Dimp” Mortimer. He was up and coming and a man who saved his money and bought bank stock. He married a beautiful girl named Isobel Nicholson, and they built the house we have called home all these years. Dimp and Beautiful Belle (as she was called) made a handsome and well-known young couple about town. They never had any children, but otherwise lived the good life. She entertained ladies’ groups and my mom told me of going to their house for Victrola parties. They would get records of operas and other well-known entertainment and play them for their groups. I can still remember vividly when I was in the 1st grade. Our teacher, Miss Squires, and the music teacher brought a group of us to one of Belle’s afternoon soirées. We put on a little play in her living room with nursery rhymes. One of them was, “Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater…” We even had a kid pop out of the pumpkin in pantomime. Such entertainment went over very big. We have been corresponding with the family that lived across the street from us around that time. A granddaughter wrote the following: “I was going thru some old family articles, notes & photos. I found an article about my Great-Uncle Arnold Sutton who was in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. The article was about him playing his violin at the Mortimer home and that the admission fee was going to the Hartford Women’s Club. I knew I had read about the Mortimers in your book and seen that it was the home you purchased after you were married a few years. He played the violin way before you were born, but I found it to be exciting information.” In 1925 Hartford built a new school. It was right on the spot where the Red Arrow Elementary School stood. It was a magnificent two-story building with a central wooden staircase. That would be a no-no in today’s plans. They also had outside metal fire escapes, but somebody wisely decided they were too dangerous for kids. So they installed tubular steel escapes down from the top floors. Those were the same fire escapes we had when we were in school. I have written about them elsewhere. Of course I don’t remember those early years, but they must’ve been exciting times. I was busy dealing with the New World of early childhood. My earliest memory is sitting in Blanche Conaway’s studio on Main Street. She was located on the north side in what is now an insurance office. We had come there to have our pictures taken, Wilma and I. The only thing I remember is some red and white striped socks I was wearing. My feet were stretched out in front of me and I was so proud of them. Marion still has them tucked away somewhere. Probably the reason I remember them is because we have the picture to this day in my Baby Book. And it has kept that in my mind all these years. We also have a picture of Wilma and me on the lawn in front of Richter’s house across the street from us. We were sitting on a blanket. Warm summer afternoon and we were playing with some kittens. What I remember of that scene is my being irritated because the kitten wouldn’t stay with me. The Richters were the perfect embodiment of la dolce vita (the good life) in small-town America. Stately home with awnings over the windows. Perfectly cut grass and a shady afternoon in summertime. When I think back of small child memories, there is that place, clear as crystal. Spirea bushes around the houses in our neighborhood. Most had fruit trees in back… and an outhouse. As indoor plumbing became more available they were fewer and fewer. Still some horse-drawn conveyances around town. In wintertime some were sleighs. And one man used to come by with a pair of lively horses pulling a wagon on runners. We kids ran out with our sleds and grabbed onto the back runners, so we could be pulled along. I think the farmer carefully didn’t notice us so as not to spoil our fun. That was almost a picture postcard perfect America back in those days. It doesn’t take into account the times we were sick, or had little kid problems. The passage of time has burnished those long ago memories with a golden patina, and we have woven them as threads into the Great Tapestry of Life in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River.
Coloma Library News Summer Reading Program
Online registration is currently available at www.colomapubliclibrary.net. Juggling Funny Stories Stop in for a free family-fun program with professional juggler Chris Fascione on Monday, July 22 at 3 p.m. Kids Yoga with Vicki Shoemaker Wednesdays, July 24 & 31, from 1-2 p.m. kids ages 7-12 can get free yoga instruction from Vicki Shoemaker. Preregistration is required due to space limitations. Call 269-468-3431 or see staff at the front desk to register. Out of This World Storytimes Experience Out of This World Storytimes for toddlers and preschoolers on Wednesday, July 25 and 31. Book Club The Coloma Public Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, July 25 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “All You Can Ever Know” by Nicole Chung.
Watervliet Library News Apollo 11 50th Anniversary
Saturday, July 20, 1 to 3 p.m. Celebrate the first Moon Landing with the original televised screening. PLUS music of ’69, trivia contests & prizes, moon crafts for kids, and Moon Pies (of course). Make-It Monday July 22, 1 p.m. Activity for K-6th graders & families; this week – Stories in the Sky Library Garden Park Ardie Roth, their favorite garden expert, shares her knowledge of the plants and other living communities within the park in a tour on Monday, July 22 at 6:30 p.m. Rain date is Wednesday, July 24 at 6:30 p.m. UFO’s Over Michigan Monday, July 22, 7–8 p.m. Did you know that Michigan has some of the biggest UFO cases on record? Join Bill Konkolesky, the State Director of the Michigan Chapter of the Mutual UFO Network, as he tells all about it. Summer Reading Program Thursday, July 25, 11 to noon Kalamazoo Astronomical Society
NEWS FROM THE COLOMA COURIER
100 years ago – 1919 Excellent talent will be presented for the Paw Paw Lake Chautauqua this season. Buy the entire season tickets for only $1.00. Every person operating a motor vehicle is required to secure an Operator’s License from the Secretary of State. The fee is fifty cents; postage stamps will not be accepted. Applicant must be presented for approval and sworn to before an authorized officer. 60 years ago – 1959 Eunice Keath, cashier at Fred’s Super Market, is the proud possessor of a Siamese Triplet Banana. This rare phenomenon weighed 1-1/2 pounds. Through weeks of investigation by Walter (Bud) Reinhardt, disclosure of several teenagers responsible for damage to Lions Club Park restrooms has taken place. The children promised to make restitution. A petition to rezone a lot for use as a shopping center had been turned down. The lot was in Coloma Heights. Coloma Band Boosters announce that Jim Lounsbury of WBKB-TV Chicago will spin the records and provide entertainment at their Record Hop fundraiser. 30 years ago – 1989 We Asked You… Where were you when Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon? Tony Doneruse was at home. “I was only nine years old, but remember watching it.” Jean Chandler was re-elected President of the Board of Education for Coloma Community Schools. Also re-elected were Norma Somers, Kay Erickson and Charles Nelson. Army Spec. Ronald H. Watson arrived for duty at Fort Stewart, Georgia. Watson is an armor crew member with the 69th Armor. Shelley Schoenemann and Robert DeLaTorre received Lions Club Scholarships. Harold Bragg and Victor Wier are co-chairmen of the scholarship program. 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
NEWS FROM THE HARTFORD DAY SPRING
100 years ago – 1919 Fire in the dry grass in the G.H. Tyrell orchards, adjoining Maple Hill Cemetery on the south, resulted in calling out the fire department Monday noon. The chemical truck was employed to fight the blaze where it was offering the most stubborn resistance, while several score of people attracted to the scene used bags and brush in beating out the fire along the ground. This is about the busiest week of the summer in the countryside about Hartford. Haying, harvesting, threshing and berry picking are all in progress. Folks on the farms are as busy as humans can well be. The greater part of the small fruits in this section has gone to the two Hartford canning factories. 75 years ago – 1944 The Mothers of World War II are sponsoring another in the series of parties for servicemen. Sonny Kesterke’s orchestra will again furnish music for dancing. All the young ladies in the Hartford area are invited to attend. At a meeting of members of the Stoddard post, American Legion, Dan Lightner was elected post commander for the coming year. Victor Rhinehart will serve as vice-commander; Leonard Liska was elected adjutant; Milton Weed, treasurer; service officer, Dr. F.N. Williams; and sergeant-at-arms, William Welty. 50 years ago – 1969 The Hartford Garden Club will hold its annual picnic at the home of Mrs. Greta Gerdy at Van Auken Lake. Mrs. Alice Kuehne will be the hostess. Members are asked to bring table service and a dish to serve eight. Members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church at Hartford still have a lot of work to do on their new building on Pinery Road, but they will consecrate the structure and begin using it this weekend. All of the construction except the plastering has been done by members of the congregation. A heavy work session was held at the church Sunday, concentrating on laying exterior brick. First services are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, with an open house next Sunday. 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
NEWS FROM THE WATERVLIET RECORD
90 years ago – 1929 Harold Renne, a member of Boy Scout Troop #61, has the honor of being judged the best all-around scout at Camp Madron, the Berrien-Cass Boy Scout Camp near Buchanan, during the camping season of 1929. He also won the Upton Cup and a medal for getting the most points in the weekly track meets. Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Betz welcomed the arrival of a baby girl at their home on July 19, 1929. Their daughter was named Margret Ann. Mr. and Mrs. John Frazier, Watervliet, are the proud parents of an 8-1/2 pound daughter, born July 23, 1929 and has been named Donna Bell. She is the 13th child in the family, all of whom are living. 60 years ago – 1959 Receiving congratulations upon his promotion to Aviation Machinist’s Mate Second Class, USN, is Duane G. Willming, Watervliet. His executive officer, Commander R.C. Knoeckel, presented the advancement in rate certificate on June 16, 1959 at the Naval Air Station, Quonset Point, Rhode Island. Mr. and Mrs. William Barrett are the proud parents of their baby girl, Glenda Mae, born July 1, 1959 and weighed 6 pounds and 14 ounces. James O. Harris has been cited for his high academic attainment by being placed on the High Scholarship list at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, for the spring semester. Students must carry at least 14 hours or work, have no more than 5 hours of B work and with only one grade of B. 30 years ago – 1989 A family dinner of 40 was celebrated in honor of the 100-year birthday of Catherine Hoffman on July 16, 1989. Mrs. Hoffman was born July 18, 1889 in Chicago, IL and she moved to Watervliet in 1960. On June 25, 1989, former Watervliet resident Denny Parker was given a surprise early 40th birthday party by his wife, Lora. The highlight of the evening was a reunion of “Parker’s Trybe”, a band popular in this area in the late 60s. The Watervliet MECCA Club completed its $3,500 fund raising effort to place ‘Welcome to Watervliet’ sign on M-140. Watervliet DDA Secretary Jackie Forrester and graphic artist Bob Krause helped with designing and putting it up. A similar sign is set for installation at the south end of town. 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