07-27-2017 Tri-City Area History Page

Lake Michigan Fun in 1919

 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

Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll

OK… Do I have your attention now? I wrote about this a long time ago, and now I feel the compulsion to revisit the topics. And I don’t really want to talk about sex, but the others are, I think, worth a revisit! I’m not an authority just because I have reached the advantage of age… but this lofty perch does make me feel a little justified! I can remember talking to my mom one time about something outspoken she had said. She sort of snorted and said, “Now that I am 80, I can say whatever I please!” And she did!

We’re in trouble! We live in a drug-oriented society. This became obvious to me some years ago. I think it started right after we fought and won WWII. Everybody wanted to get back to normal life as fast as possible. We all married and reared our families. And too many people didn’t want their children to have to endure what we all had to go through… never stopping to think that it is the fire that tempers steel!

So we had the baby boomers next.  They were the children who lived through the opening up of a new world.  And they are running it now; loosening of family ties and morals, and “flower power.”  A sampling of what happened to famous people, particularly in the music business, will illustrate… Brian Jones, Rolling Stones guitarist, drowned in 1969 at age 26 while under the influence of liquor and drugs.

Janis Joplin, singer, died in 1970 at age 27 of heroin overdose.  Jimi Hendrix, guitarist-singer, died in 1970 at age 27 after an overdose of sleeping pills.  Jim Morrison, singer and leader of “The Doors,” died in 1971 at age 27 of an apparent heart attack but was a heavy drinker.  Elvis Presley, singer, died in 1977 at age 42, ostensibly of an apparent heart attack but was addicted to a whole variety of drugs.  Keith Moon, drummer for “The Who” died in 1978 at age 32 from an overdose of drugs… incidentally, just listen to a song from this last group, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and the anguished cry at the end!  Sid Vicious, Malcolm Owen, John Bonham… the list goes on and on, but you get my point.

Perceptive people in the music business concede that musicians are sometimes pitifully insecure youngsters from poor backgrounds, who are unable to handle success.  They work hard to achieve success, and when it comes along, perhaps they suffer from guilt, because they come to know that they are just vicarious sex symbols for young people, and their popularity and wealth will not last.  But the producers of pop music will exploit them just the same!

What has all this to do with us more or less normal people?  We lead pretty regular lives and will never get our clothes torn off by adoring but fickle fans.  It has much to do with us, because we live in a drug-oriented society.  We have remedies pushed at us for every ill or discomfort we can imagine.  In addition we seek out whatever we can find to give our physical bodies a little more comfort.

We take millions and millions of non-prescription pain tablets.  We have a headache we take pills.  We have cramps we take pills.  We feel depressed we take some pills.  A doctor friend of mine told me recently he had a young man patient who was exhibiting bizarre symptoms.  The doctor told me no names, but this young man was getting goofy.  The doctor said to him, “Do you take any kind of pills?”

The young man thought a moment, then answered, “Yes, I do take some non-prescription pain killers.”

“How many do you take in a day?”

“Oh,” the young man answered, “I take two tablets about ten times a day.”

“Good grief,” the doctor said, “No wonder you are acting crazy.  Why do you take so many?”

“Because they make me feel good!”

Well there you are!  That about sums up our society!  And what can we do about it?  Problems are easily stated, but solutions are often hard to come by.  I’ll take a shot at it.  I believe that more and better parenting will help.   We all had a belly full of war and going without.  And we didn’t do our next generations any favors by making it easier for them.  I believe we have to start with our children.  And it has to be on a national level.  We must help people get out of poverty and teach them to be parents.

I believe the solution lies in the family.  Build family values.  We must be better parents so our children will be better parents for their children.  Somehow we must hammer into young people the idea that they cannot have it all right away!  Eat together… say a prayer at the beginning of dinner.  And, yes, I do believe there is a higher power.  Pass on to your kids your family values… friendship, responsibility, helping others.  I think the solution lies in the family.  We must strengthen it!

We’re all addicts of some kind!  If we are coffee drinkers and have ever gotten up in the morning with a hammering pain at the back of our head that was alleviated by our first cup of coffee, we are addicts!  Caffeine is a drug.  If we come home at night, put our feet up and inhale that delicious martini (or whatever) and we do it regularly, we are probably addicts.  Alcohol is a drug.  If we smoke cigarettes, cigars, pipe, or even use smokeless tobacco we are addicts.  Nicotine is a drug.  So I have probably hit all of us in some degree.

Please don’t think I am sermonizing, because I am just as bad as anyone else.  In fact, thinking about all of this has given me a headache.  As soon as I finish here, I’m going to take something for it!

Hartford Public Library News

 The Hartford Public Library is sponsoring a “History of Hartford” night on Wednesday, August 2 at 6 p.m. at the library. Mr. Robert Latus, local historian, will be talking about his work with the Hartford Day Spring newspaper and his current project concerning the history of many of the residences and remaining historical buildings.

If you have any old photos, please bring them to share with us. We are looking for additional photos for our 2018 Hartford Historical Calendar published by the Friends of the Hartford Library. Bring us your stories and experiences, we want to hear them.

Watervliet District Library News

 LEGO donations needed – any and all LEGOS you don’t use anymore.  Bring them to the library.

Summer Reading Program: Build a Better World ends this week with a pizza party on Thursday, July 27.

Yoga: Monday, 9 – 10 a.m.; Wednesday 7 – 8 p.m.; Wednesday, 6:15 – 6:45 p.m. Chair Yoga for people with limited mobility.


100 years ago – 1917

Called into the Roll of Honor with the Naval Reserves: Harry C. DeFields, Melvin O. Peck, Lawrence Schmuhl and Martin C. Kilmark. Dr. S.V. Barnum has been granted a commission as first lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps.

A meeting of the Red Cross Society was held at the home of Mrs. H.G. Krake. Plans were made for opening a workroom in the Bunker building where all may do their bit. Committee members are: Mrs. Geo. W. Grant, Mrs. Sim Hawks and Mrs. Annibelle Blake. All are welcome.

C.A. Shoup – Manufacturer of boats, window screens, ironing boards, fruit ladders and cabinet work of all kinds.

60 years ago – 1957

A/2c Kenneth Hosang, 22, Paw Paw Lake has been named “Airman of the Month.” He has served so far, three years in the Air Force, including time in Greenland.

The newly formed band of the Washington School will make their first out-of-state appearance. They will enter the marching contest at Riverview Park in Chicago.

Mary Johnson and Gyl Johnson will travel to South Milwaukee to compete in the annual Wisconsin Spectacle of Music contest. They will compete with 500 drum majorettes.

30 years ago – 1987

We Asked You… “Was Oliver North just following orders?” Paul Friday liked when he told Congress to investigate themselves. Bonnie Gast thinks he is very truthful.

Barbra Wolfram of the Chamber of Commerce presented Mayor and Mrs. Randall with a magnetic car sign. It reads, “Coloma City Mayor – Glenn Randal and Mrs.”

Glad-Peach President Dale Stover reports the town is “really cranked up. We have more support than ever.”

Daryl W. Bailey, a 1975 graduate, was licensed to practice law in Texas. He graduated from South Texas College of Law.


100 years ago – 1917

It is not often that a victim of misplaced confidence is pleased with the result, but Jake Oppenheim is an exception to the rule. A few weeks ago Jake visited the local store and called for a quantity of cabbage plants. The clerks were busy and Jake volunteered to help himself. Now he is harvesting a fine crop of cauliflower, and he insists that the disappointment is satisfactory.

Letters and post cards received by parents and friends indicate that Hartford will soon have several more soldiers in France. Roy Grosse and Christie Galbreath left Fort Bliss and El Paso, Texas, a little over a week ago, eastward bound but without knowing their destination.

75 years ago – 1942

Memories of nearly a century of school days were spanned and the pioneer municipal rivalry of Stoughten Corners and Hartford was recounted by 75 former students and teachers at the second annual reunion of the Stoughten Corners school held Sunday at one of the oldest school sites in Van Buren County, a mile and a half north of this village. Oldest pupil present was Stephen Stowe, 93, retired Hartford fruit grower who studied in the first log school house 87 years ago when most schoolmates were Indian children.

50 years ago – 1967

Sp-6 Terry L. Bisbee, son of Mr. and Mrs. Augustus Bisbee of Hartford received the Army commendation medal for heroism in combat. Bisbee was cited for his courage and professional skill while serving as flight engineer of a helicopter during a dangerous night mission to evacuate combat troops. Deep in enemy territory, Bisbee directed his aircraft into a small unmarked jungle clearing, close to hostile forces. In the Army since November, 1955, Bisbee also received six awards of the air medal and the Purple Heart medal.

Death of Glenn (Toppy) Walling at Hartford last week recalled a colorful era of history, marked by what was Walling’s bicycle shop on N. Center Street. The building was torn down a few years ago to make room for a parking lot. In his shop, Walling fixed “wheels” as he called them, for children and grandchildren of his earlier customers. He had one of Hartford’s first tire repair shops and at one time sold motorcycles. Until last year or so, he rode a wheel himself.


90 years ago – 1927

Mr. and Mrs. Chas. J. Schwarz of Watervliet, were given a pleasant surprise August 8, 1927, at their home, when 19 relatives came to remind them of their 12th anniversary. It was a great family reunion with every member of their family present.

A little six and one-half pound daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Price Stondt, on August 6, 1927 in Watervliet. The little lady has been named Maurine Eleanor.

Printed on August 12, 1927: A ton of coal FREE with every parlor furnace bought during August 1927 at Austin’s Hardware

60 years ago – 1957

Sgt. and Mrs. Don Roberts are the proud parents of a baby girl born July 24, 1957 and weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces.

Keith H. Lightner received his Master of Arts degree on August 2, 1957 from Western Michigan University.

The “dolphins” a water ballet team, trained by Mrs. Richard Trelfa, Watervliet, entertained members and guests at the Berrien Hills Country Club on July 29, 1957. The girls performed several spectacular underwater “dances.” Participants from Watervliet were Joyce Lamp, Kay Field, Barbara Trelfa, Jackie Sergeant, and Marilyn Shield.

30 years ago – 1987

Thyra Jennings is one of 150 women selected to receive the Michigan 150 First Lady Award as part of the state’s Sesquicentennial celebration. The awards program is designed to recognize the community service contributions of women “who are quietly dedicated to their communities, women who seem to live to help others.” Thyra Jennings, Watervliet, is a retired teacher from the Kalamazoo Area Schools, where she taught for 44 years.

Army Private Gail S. Boyd, daughter of Robert A. Moore, Watervliet, has completed the combat telecommunications center operator course at the U.S. Army Signal School, Ford Gordon, Georgia. Private Boyd was an honor graduate of the course.

Local merchant was presented the outstanding Civic Beauty Award. Dave Pudell, owner of the Watervliet Amoco station was commended for his civic interest in beautifying his place of business.


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