09-21-2017 Tri-City Area History Page

Construction of Hotel Vincent, Benton Harbor 1924

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

This world is not my home!

Once in a while I have some long thoughts… and I hope, Dear Readers, that you won’t mind my sharing them with you. Lately I have had this picture in my mind that we are living in a huge mansion. And it was originally full of people we mostly knew. That was a safe, sunny feeling. We knew our world.

But over the years it has changed. Gradually, gradually the people we know have left. The house is just as full, but they are different people now. How can us help being a little sad… especially when some of those missing now were so close to us then. We try not to dwell on it, but I believe that these memories may be at least part of their immortality. They still live on in our thoughts. So, when they come into my mind occasionally, or when I dream about those long gone, I welcome them.

In my somewhat misspent life, I have been on many college campuses. And I have always enjoyed talking with the ministers, priests, and rabbis who serve the spiritual needs of college kids. They are a special breed… have to be to deal with those questing young minds. At the University of Michigan I talked with a priest at St. Mary’s Chapel. I wanted to know what his idea is of the afterlife! He said perhaps it is like before birth… a place of perfect contentment and peace. That is interesting, but none of us really knows.

So my memory ramblings are kind of exemplified by a story… one pre-Memorial Day, Marion and I went to Arlington cemetery north of Bangor. There my Grandpa and Grandma Davis, and my Uncle A. Everett Davis are buried. We had geraniums to plant, and did so with wind sighing through the huge grandfather maple overhead.

Afterwards I said, “I want to lean against the fender here and sort out some ideas for a few minutes.”

Marion got in the car and said, “All right, go ahead.”

This is what was in my mind: I looked at the monument… old, flaking off. And it is a shaft, shaped like a church pulpit, with an open book resting on it… a Bible, I’m sure. Silas W. Davis—died 1913, Ida Davis—died 1929, A. Everett Davis—died 1951. The plot looks old and undisturbed. The graves are all a little sunken in… probably none of them were buried in vaults. Their coffins have fallen in, and they are all going, or have gone back to the earth. They look as though they have been there for a long time, and they have! They have become part of the Grandfather Tree, the huge old maple whose branches overshadow our family plot.

Now, if part (at least) of our immortality is based on our being remembered and having changed something by our being here on earth, how much is left of them? After being buried now 104 years, 88 years, and 68 years respectively.

There are very few people, if any, in Bangor who would still remember them. After my family is all gone, will there be anyone here on earth who knows what they looked like? Probably not, except for family pictures in our archives. Does that mean then that they are totally gone?

No, they are still alive in that some of their genes have been passed along to us and through us to our children. My Grandma Davis was an artist. Likewise was my Dad. I see in some of our grandchildren that same artistic bent. In this park-like cemetery there is still the flaking monument… some dates.  Likewise some legal records preserved here and there. And now my stories, which may or may not survive through the ages.

I hope somewhere they are all in another existence. No one knows what it is like. Each of us will find out some day by saying, “Well, here I am in another existence, and I am really here!”

Or the extinguishing of the light, the eternal cocoon wrapping in silence will be the answer… and in our unknowingness, we will know, or not know. I hope there is knowing! I will try to keep my mind on that!

The Buddhist says, “We are all on the wheel of life… trying to work out the riddle of this existence. And doing the best job we can, so that next time around it will be better.”

The Transcendentalist says, “We are all part of the Great Oversoul. Our lives are like a small wave that laps up onto the shore… then goes back to the great body of water from whence we came.”

One of my friends, Bill Galbreath, said, “This world is not my home… I’m merely passing through!” Hmmm, perhaps more of a philosopher than he knew!

After some long thoughts on the subject, one of our daughters said, “You know, this part… what we are doing right now, is probably the hard part!” And that could be a comforting thought.

Meanwhile the sun was shining on that pre-Memorial day. Wind sighed through the huge maples in that old cemetery, and the lovely girl with whom I have spent so many years was awaiting me in the car. I climbed in, and she patted me, saying, “Everything all right?”

And I said, “Yup!  All OK!” And I thought, “The sun rises, the sun sets, and the earth still abides. We are still weaving golden threads into the magic tapestry of our lives in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River.”

Watervliet District Library News

September is: Library Card sign up month!

Sign up or renew your card during the month of September to be entered into our drawing for awesome library bling.

Banned Books – September

Calling all Reading Rebels: Celebrate your freedom to read all month long and snap a photo to prove it! Our photo booth awaits you!

Teen Table Projects – September

A button maker is on the table all this month. Bring in your art or make it here and wear home your thoughts, talents & opinions.

Toddler Time

Sep. thru Nov. – Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.

Early literacy stories and games, designed to build pre-reading skills for little ones 18 – 36 months. Lots of fun for everyone! No registration is required for this drop-in program.

Red Cross Pillowcase Project

Sep. 30 – 1:30 p.m.

This project teaches children coping skills to help them deal with an emergency, using three steps – Learn, Practice and Share. Recommended for children in grades 3 through 5 (ages 8 to 11). Sign-up is required for this free program; call us or stop by to register.


Monday mornings, 9 – 10 a.m.; Wednesday evenings, 7 – 8 p.m.; Wednesday evenings, 6:00 – 6:45 p.m. Chair Yoga

Coming Soon

Story Hour – Oct. thru Apr., one-hour class on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. and Thursdays at 1:30 p.m.

Coloma Library News

Story Hour

Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Join Miss Amy for a craft, story and song time! Story Hour is for older toddlers and preschool-aged children. It is asked that all children be accompanied and supervised by an adult. There is no sign-up or fee required. Please call 468-3431 with any questions.

Book Club

The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, September 28 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase” by Louise Walters.  Generally, depending on demand there are titles available for check-out at the front desk. The book club regularly meets every other Thurs