Favorite memories A picture of Aunt Hope’s house in Pennsylvania hangs on the wall above our kitchen table. I’ve been thinking about it, and the good times we had with her. We sold the place to friends out there, and they have rehabbed it almost to the point you couldn’t recognize it. Beautiful! It’s just not Aunt Hope’s anymore. We spent so many wonderful vacations with her… they will always be real and true right there in our memories. Hope Merrill was such a special person. Bedrock faith and room in her heart for all of us… we vacationed there every summer. When her health began to fail, she asked me to be power of attorney for her, and she went into a church oriented retirement home. After that we tried to visit her three times a year, spring, summer, and fall. My school was very understanding. I almost never took days off, so they would give us a long weekend to go out and take care of her business. Confession: I had the title, but the Chief Accountant did most of the work. Somewhere along in there Aunt Hope asked us if we would like to own her house. Would we ever! And she put the deed in our name. We continued to vacation there even after she was gone, until recently when we no longer enjoyed traveling that much. Then we sold it, as I said. But in our minds it will always be there… the place we loved to visit one of our very favorite persons. We often invited friends to come out with us, and sometimes her backyard looked like a trailer park, among them Charlie and Margaret Martens, longtime camping companions. They were brought to mind by a message I received from Donnalee Kabel Houser, friend and ex-Hartfordite; she is a faithful reader of my scribblings in The Record. She said she found out recently that her husband was related to Charlie, and she’d never known that before. That is what got me thinking about the past. One summer several of us were visiting Aunt Hope. We had our trailers parked in her backyard. Charlie and Margaret had placed their tent camper right under the big old apple tree. It was one of those that you crank up and the bunks fold out. Getting late and most everyone had gone to bed. Nephew Dave Kling and I stood on the back porch looking at the peaceful scene. Then we had an idea… we each gathered an arm full of fallen apples, and standing there we started pitching them so they would fall on the roof of Charlie and Margaret’s trailer. Clunk! Clunk! Clunk! We were trying to keep from laughing because we knew sooner or later we would get a reaction. Finally Margaret said in a loud voice, “Charlie, I told you we shouldn’t park under that apple tree!” We retired from the scene stifling our laughter. Charlie was an avid golfer. One of Aunt Hope’s friends took him out on the local course, and while he was taking his clubs out of the trunk of his car, he popped something out of place in his back. Aunt Hope’s friend said, “I hope you’re all right, Charlie. Just recently we lost three old-timers right here on this golf course… heart attacks!” I’m sure Charlie was thinking, “Thanks a lot!” Nights we would go out spotting deer in our cars with a portable spotlight. The mountains are beautiful at night and the wildlife comes out. One time in a grassy meadow we saw two bucks fighting. Bang! Their horns came together as they wrestled for superiority. They were so mad at each other they didn’t even pay attention to us watching them. Another night we passed a hunting cabin. We could see the owner sitting reading a newspaper by lamplight. He had no idea that out in his garden in front… and he had fenced it all in… inside the fence a deer was leisurely feasting on the vegetables he had planted. We all bought groceries and Aunt Hope planned some memorable meals. One time we went out to a farm where they were harvesting peas. She bought a pan full, and that night we had new potatoes and peas in a cream sauce. She loved to have fresh fruit and vegetables on the table. We were shopping at a market down near Sunbury, and while the girls were inside with Aunt Hope, I was looking at a nice display of round watermelons stacked like Civil War cannonballs. I said to the owner, “We used to raise those in Michigan but we quit.” His interest aroused, he said, “Oh, why?” “Out there the soil is so rich the vines grow too fast. The melons had drag marks and people wouldn’t buy them!” He just snorted in disgust and walked away. That trip Charlie was limping with a sore back from the golf club incident. He was worried about driving home. Then he stepped in a hole he didn’t see and turned his ankle. He remarked, “Now my ankle hurts and I forgot about my back, so I guess I’ll be able to drive all right.” …golden memories and threads woven into the tapestry of our lives in these storybook towns.
Watervliet District Library News Teen Table Projects: August Vote for the best book of the year! Cast your online ballot at the library’s polling booth and take home a Snickers for democracy. Third Monday Book Club Aug. 20, 7-8 p.m. Great books, fabulous conversations! – The Milk Lady of Bangalore by Shoba Narayan. Ask for a copy at the desk. Pinteresting Aug. 27, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Art & crafts for grown-ups, sign up required; August – Rock Photo Holders 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 – 6:30 p.m. Call 463-6382 with questions on any Watervliet library activity.
Coloma Library News Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, August 23 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “The Life She Was Given” by Ellen Marie Wiseman. Generally, depending on demand there are titles available for check-out at the front desk. The book club regularly meets every other Thursday and is always looking for new members. Story Hour Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. at the library. Join Miss Amy for a story, song and simple craft. Story Hour is open to toddlers and preschoolers. It is asked that children be accompanied and supervised by an adult. Call 468-3431 with questions on any Coloma library activity.
Greek Festival Labor Day weekend The Annunciation & Agia Paraskevi Greek Orthodox Church is hosting Greek Festival Labor Day weekend at the Hellenic Center located at 17760 Behner Road in New Buffalo. There will be authentic Greek food prepared by Tony Mamouzellos and served from noon to 9 p.m. Also, enjoy the sights and sounds of Greece with Greek music and folk dancing, delicious Greek pastries, craft vendors, Greek gifts and souvenirs in addition to church and museum tours. This event has free admission and parking. Dates and hours are noon to 11 p.m. on Friday Aug. 31, Saturday Sep. 1 and Sunday Sep. 2.
NEWS FROM THE COLOMA COURIER
100 years ago – 1918 The church at Riverside, which is one of the churches on the Coloma-Watervliet charge, will celebrate a debt paying victory. The church is under the pastoral care of Rev. C.E. Pollock. A list of casualties from the battle front of France has been received. Frank Schneider is the first of the Coloma boys to have his name in the “Roll of the Honored Dead.” Prior to enlistment, he resided with his sister near the Boyer school house. The taxes for the village of Coloma for the year of 1918 are due and payable July 1. Make immediate payment Coloma mill. James K. Guy, Village Treasurer 60 years ago – 1958 Funeral services were held for little “Ricky” Litchford, 10, at the Florin Funeral Home, performed by Rev. Guy Kiser. This tragedy occurred when the bicycle he was riding was struck by an automobile. Ricky was a Boy Scout and a member of the Riverside ball team. He attended Curtis School. Five building permits were issued totaling $49,300.The five-room wood frame homes with full basements will be built in the Coloma Heights subdivision. The “Tone Kings,” Coloma lads, won the amateur contest at the House of David. Previously they have sung at sock hops at the high school. 30 years ago – 1988 We Asked You… What do you enjoy at the Berrien County Youth Fair? Cory Baldwin: “The Smothers Brothers!” Todd Woodley likes the tractor pulls. Jill Grabowski enjoys the rides and having fun. Coloma Chamber member Jackie Hammond sends her thanks for the generous donations to the Glad-Peach 5K & 10K Run. All Harding’s Markets will be serving root beer floats for $1. The entire dollar of this fundraiser will be donated to the Easter Seal Society.
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