Phil’s Famous Baked Ham… first neon sign in Coloma by Hicks Signs. If you have a favorite memory of Phil’s, 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
Nerdiness is not forever…
Necessarily. But sometimes it seems that way! I should know something about it because I was a nerd back there in middle school. Yup, I’ll admit it… two left feet and just all around awkward when girls were present. Us guys were trying so desperately to be cool. I didn’t know until I grew out of that stage that you can’t “be cool.” Either you are or you aren’t! Later on I tried to explain that to my students. One time I was teaching a class of juniors in American literature. We were having a discussion about that very thing… how we go through stages. One girl complained, “Why is it when boys get to be a certain age they have to act so awful?” All the other girls in class voiced their agreement to that! Most of the guys squirmed a little bit and just looked uncomfortable. I tried to put a good face on it and maybe make the boys feel not quite so bad. I said, “Well, it was just a little while ago most of you went through that time. There is a period in there when girls develop faster than you guys and just sort of leave you behind until you can catch up.” There’s an old saying which I just amended a little… in the spring a young man’s fancy turns to… what the girls have been thinking about all winter! I noticed after I said that most of the girls were nodding their heads and giving me that Mona Lisa smile! And it’s true! Along about middle school boys just get awful! I know. I was there once! They feel so uncomfortable… too old to cry and too young to swear. Hah! Not anymore. I have heard the language they use now. And it has been thus for some years. One of the benchmark novels for telling it like it is with teenagers is “The Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger. When it came out, I believe in the late 1950s, it was a runaway bestseller. The first time I read it, I laughed right out loud! It was about (you guessed it) a nerdy teenager named Holden Caulfield. Told by him, he uses all the bad words teenagers use, but no one talks about! Holden is honest, sensitive, and just trying to become an adult. He knows he is a nerd! And he has a younger sister, Phoebe. He is trying to protect her and keep her in innocent childhood as long as he can. He has this dream… all the little kids are playing in a field of rye. He is standing next to a cliff at the edge of the field trying to keep them from falling off! And in telling his story he is so horribly funny that the reader can’t help but laugh, and the same time feel his sensitivity keenly. The book had mixed reviews. Do teenagers really talk like that? Yes, of course they do! Parents were horrified. It became an instant hit with teenagers who were all reading it. I’ve read quite a few books on the rites of passage from childhood to adulthood. Not one has made an impression on me as that one did! I think many parents would secretly agree with me that if they could find a finishing school for young men… say somewhere on an island (with all the amenities, of course). And they be kept there until they pass through that horrible nerdiness… I think there would be plenty of subscriptions. In addition, let’s admit it… we now live in a world where temptations are multiplied many times from what times were like when I was a kid. I’m amazed at how many ways kids now can find to get into trouble! There are so many pitfalls. In addition we live in a society that says, Do it all. Do it no. Don’t wait!! Whatever happened to “negative capability?” That’s the ability to wait for something, to put off gratification! It is the keystone to ultimate success. We must be able to make long-range plans. I know a girl who organized her life in five-year segments. She had a plan for what she wanted to accomplish in each one. And then she went on to the next one. Did it work? You bet! Now, as to my own nerdiness… how did I get through it? Blind, sheer luck – and some understanding parents! I think way back when I was small, they planted in me something called a conscience. This is a little voice in the back of our head that says, “Don’t do that!” I’m not sure it was conscious on their part, perhaps they did it by example. But it was there. On personal matters, they were scrupulously honest. In their personal lives, they always considered the other person first. And they planted it in me. Not perfect… it didn’t keep me from taking chances, sorry to say. But I always knew when I approached the edge of the cliff, that voice said, “Don’t jump!” There were two of my friends I would not ride with in a car. I just knew they would get into trouble some day… they were both extremely fast and reckless drivers. One made it through adolescence without wrecking the folk’s car. Just lucky! The other one, not so. One night he rolled his dad’s Oldsmobile over and over out into the swamp that was right across from where the casino now stands west of Hartford. He had a car full of kids and just lucky no one was killed. Glad I wasn’t with him! I think all of us old guys who made it through the nerdiness of youth are lucky. Now here we are still weaving golden threads into The Great Tapestry of Life in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River.
Coloma Library News
NOTE: Saturday closure
The Coloma Public Library will be closed all day on Saturday, Oct. 19 to perform technology upgrades. Regular hours will resume Monday, October 21 at 10:00 a.m. Storytime Weekly storytime for toddlers and preschool-aged children is on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. Registration is not required to participate in this weekly interactive experience that includes theme books, music, and hands-on activity with Miss Alicia. Book Club The Coloma Public Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “The Woman in the Window” by A.J. Finn. Book Sale The library’s giant fall book sale is on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The bookstore boasts an extensive collection including print and media in a variety of formats. Purchases support literacy programs in the library.
Watervliet District Library News
Teen Table Projects: October Teen-Tober: Do-it-yourself activity for teens while at the library. This month – TP tube knitting STEM Kit Programs Snap Circuits – LEGO Robotics – Little Bits Electronic Inventions STEM kit programs designed for small groups to work together to make an endless number of inventions. New groups are set up with the participants schedule in mind. Sign up at the desk! For 8 years and up. Books ‘N Bites Monday, Oct. 7 – 6:30 p.m. A program with taste! This quarter’s feature: The Joy Luck Club. Sign-up is required. Sensory Bin Blast Tuesday, Oct. 8, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. The perfect time for a perfect mess! for 0 – 5 year olds & their families. In Stitches Knitting Group Friday, Oct. 11, 2:30 – 4 p.m. Take a current project or your interest: they’ll help you get started. Arm knitting supplies & one on one instruction, too! Third Monday Book Club Oct. 21, 7 – 8 p.m. Great books, fabulous conversations! Ask for a copy at the desk. October’s book – The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.
NEWS FROM THE COLOMA COURIER
100 years ago – 1919 Governor Sleeper names October 9 as Fire Prevention Day. Observe the day by inspecting or repairing all fire menaces that contribute to a fire hazard. Clean and repair all chimneys. A record breaking session will long be remembered by the Masonic fraternity. Lodge was called where 80 members gathered. After a supper of chicken and dumplings, the evening session began. The work of conferring the third degree on seven brothers was then completed. 60 years ago – 1959 High school band director George Smart announces the schedule for the band. They will march in four home and two away football games. They will participate in Band Day at the University of Michigan. The band numbers 69 strong. Plan to attend the Loma Theatre nights to pay tribute to the Alguire family. It is a fitting expression of our appreciation for their 46 years of service. In addition to entertainment, the theatre has been available for church and school plays, meetings and queen contests. We thank you! Richard Currie, 16, was injured as he left the high school at noon. He ran to cross the road, not seeing a trailer behind a car and ran into the wheel. He sustained a contusion and possible skull fracture. 30 years ago – 1989 The 1989 Homecoming King and Queen are Wes Fikes and Laura Allan. Wes enjoys sports, Varsity Club and was Boys State Representative. Laura’s activities include Student Council, track, pompons and Varsity Club. The DNR has denied a permit sought by Rocco Bertuca. He hoped to build 44 single-family houses on the north side of Paw Paw Lake. P.F.C. Kelly L. Robinson was awarded the Army Achievement Medal. She is the daughter of Bob and Charlene Robinson and is currently stationed in Stuttgart, West Germany.
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 & Thur, 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 The material is nearly all on the ground for the erection of the new garage and Ford service station which C.E. Kinney will erect on west Main Street, on property he recently purchased from R.W. Stickney. The contract for the erection of the building has been let to Leroy Westcott. Mr. Kinney has purchased a lot on Olds Street, to which he will move the Stickney house. Hartford people who have placed orders for surplus army food will find solace in the information that assurance has been received from Chicago that deliveries will be made just as soon as orders can be assembled, routed and transported. 75 years ago – 1944 The Mothers of World War II have bought 325 Christmas boxes, which are being sent to all Hartford men in the armed forces of the United States. The Christmas gift boxes include foot powder, shaving cream and tooth powder. At a meeting of the Art Study class at the home of Mrs. George Shepard, Pollywog Road, Alice Bennett presented a lesson on the life and works of Rosa Bonhuer, one of the world’s greatest animal painters. 50 years ago – 1969 Police from three agencies raided what they said was the headquarters for a numbers racket here Thursday night and arrested five persons on gambling conspiracy charges. Two more were arrested later that night. The raid was conducted on a former grocery store building across from the south grade school that once had been a restaurant. Police Chief, Jim Smith told The Day Spring that a sign reading Avalon Construction Co. had been put in the window of the building, but there apparently was no such firm. Sam Galati, owner of the building, said that he had rented it but did not know what use it was being put. Chief Smith said that the raided building served as a headquarters for collection and payoff of numbers bets but was not a sales office. He expressed an opinion that the Mafia was involved; pointing out that the syndicate takes a cut on any organized gambling operation. 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.; Thur & 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 Supervisor John D. Carmody has eased ten acres of his farm to the Karino Fur Company of Illinois for a muskrat preserve. There is a small lake covering two and one-half to three acres on this tract. The company leasing the land has had a fence built enclosing the tract and will stock the preserve with Canadian muskrats. A goodly number of the neighborhood attended a surprise party at the Coon home on Saturday, Oct. 12, 1929, given in honor of the birthday anniversaries of E.C. Hawks and Mrs. Bert Coon. Ad printed on Oct. 18, 1929: Rich man’s coal, poor man’s price for cash only – $6.60 per ton at yard. 60 years ago – 1959 The eleventh annual Band Day at the University of Michigan has been set for Oct. 10. Approximately 12,500 Michigan high school bandsmen will perform in what promises to be the world’s largest massed band in the world’s largest college stadium. A new subject under the instruction of Ted Blahnik is now being offered to high school students enrolled in Industrial Arts. Blahnik and the school administration feel that mechanical drawing is basic to the needs of any boy who wishes to continue in the shop program and that many times in his life after graduation a youth will find mechanical drawing a great advantage 30 years ago – 1989 Watervliet High School 1989 Homecoming Queen and King are Katie Marvin and Derrick Arwood. Homecoming court for the juniors is Tammy Nichols and Joe Matthews. For the sophomore class, it is Tana Hobson and Jeff Riley. The court for the freshmen class is Brandi Arnt and Joel Moore. WHS float competition winners: 1st place-sophomores, 2nd place-juniors, 3rd place-seniors, and 4th place-freshmen. Living in a small town has many advantages, one being that every person counts. Big cities, though they offer a lot in the way of entertainment, services and convenience, often lose sight of the everyday man in the mass of bureaucracies. Towns are like ponds; the same average-size fish can be a small fish in a big pond or a large fish in a small pond. In Watervliet, the average fish can be a big fish. 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, Thur & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Phone: 269-463-6382