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10-04-2018 Tri-City Area History Page

The Paw Paw River Journal

Ode to autumn My Webster’s says an ode is a poem written to be sung. Well I’m not going to sing this, but I hope there will be music in it. We are now in a beautiful time of year. And if we just listen, nature is singing songs. Back in the day (hah!), it was one of our favorite times to go camping. Labor Day has come and gone, and students are back in school laboring! When that holiday arrives, suddenly the campgrounds empty out. People are back in their workday lives. Suddenly the highways are not as crowded. Who’s out there? The gray-headed crowd. And I’m talking about that time after I retired from teaching. Yup, we were part of it! The trees ache with color. One year daughter Becky came in our kitchen and said, “You guys just have to come outside so we can take some pictures. All the trees around your house are just beautiful!” We did that, and I still look at those pictures… They evoke the same feelings I had then. A sense of wonder at God’s world and all its beauty. At night I step out on the back porch and breathe deep. A tang of burning leaves (strictly illegal), and on Friday nights the sound of crowds cheering on our football team at the nearby high school. I can remember on such a Friday night we had driven up to the state park at Traverse City. We found a spot beneath the pines. As I set up our travel trailer I breathed deeply that pure scented air. I wish I could have distilled it and bottled it to open right now! Our four children had their own ideas about camping when they could go with us… Eldest two girls, Deb and Becky, put up their tent and got all of their equipment arranged. Out came the volleyball and net, and they were off to set it up and find some kids for a game. Soon they were all playing volleyball. One time I said to them, “I think you’ve found a good way to meet boys!” They just gave me that Mona Lisa smile and went on about their business. Son Rob set up his little pup tent and had his own campfire… we could do that in those days. In the morning I reared up and looked out the window to see if he was okay. There he was sitting in front of his tent with the campfire and cooking a pot of oatmeal. Youngest daughter, Laurie, had her own camping ideas. She claimed one of the bunks in our travel trailer and had her bed all made up. When we set up camp and I powered up the trailer, on came her electric blanket and her little radio, set to the local rock station. Oh yes, we all got what we wanted. And we camped that way summer through autumn. We loved autumn picnics too. My folks were the original picnic people. Because we lived right at my dad’s business (the greenhouses), if they wanted to get away and have some free time, we often went on picnics. A favorite place was Hagar Park. In those days it was a real family spot. We picnicked there almost until snow would be flying. Well, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But we had some times when they would put up a tarp to keep the wind out. And my dad was a champion hamburger fryer! A big fire in the outdoor fireplace, one by each table. The smell of frying hamburgers and a pot of potatoes boiling (with the skins on). No swimming then, of course, but we were out in nature as darkness settled over the wooded area… and a few other brave families who were doing the same thing. Autumn meant a lot of other things too. We raked leaves into piles and burned them. No rules against that then. And of an autumn evening a haze lay over the town, with a big harvest moon rising. Every year at harvest time the Chicago Tribune ran a feature with a special picture on the cover of the magazine section. It shows an autumn scene, with moon coming up, and the field of corn shocks. Under that another picture and the scene is changed… same campfire, but now the corn shocks are Indian tepees and the Native Americans are dancing around a fire. Autumn meant a lot of other things too… and it still does. Halloween is coming up and then Thanksgiving. Both of those deserve their own story which I will develop later. Autumn is a most glorious time of year. It is tinged with sadness because we know that winter is coming. The world will go to sleep, covered with a white blanket. Goodbye until spring. Meanwhile we enjoy the feeling of completion, of things winding down for the year. And often during that time we are given a period of warmth called Indian summer. What a luxury to be in shirtsleeves again for a few days. The year the Chief Accountant and I were married it was thus. About two weeks of glorious warm weather. We went on our wedding trip to Washington D.C. Visiting a beautiful cathedral in that city, we looked through the gift shop adjoining. Run by society of Brothers wearing brown habits, it had all kinds of religious gifts. I followed Marion around looking for things to take back home as gifts. One young brother smiled at me and said, “How was the wedding?” I said, “How did you know we were just married?” He replied knowingly, “Otherwise you would be outside impatiently waiting for her to get done!” Glorious autumn days when we were young, life was new, and lots of golden threads woven into the tapestry of our lives in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River.

Texaco station at Friday Road and I-94, Coloma 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 From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

Coloma Library The Coloma Public Library is pleased to be hosting the award winning father/son team – Al and Dave Eicher – on Tuesday, October 9 at 6:30 p.m. The Eichers will be presenting the program “When Mark Twain Came to Michigan” which focuses on the colorful period in Samuel Clemons life when he took the name, Mark Twain and visited Michigan during his World Tour. Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, October 18 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margar. Story Hour Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Join Miss Amy for a story, song and craft time. Story Hour is geared towards older toddlers and preschool-aged children. It is asked that all children be supervised by an adult. There is no sign-up for this free program. Call 468-3431 with questions on any Coloma library activity.

Watervliet Library Teen Table Projects: October Witches Broom Pencils & Skeleton Hands Make-it Monday Oct. 8, 4-5 p.m. Hands-on craft projects and games for K thru 6th graders second Monday of every month. October – Candy Corn Catapult In Stitches Knitting Group Oct. 12, 2:30 – 4 p.m. Second Friday of every month; limited supplies are available for beginners. Third Monday Book Club Oct. 15, 7 – 8 p.m. This month: Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold. Children’s programs thru April Sensory Bin Blast on the second Tuesday every month 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. for 0 to 5 year-olds and families. Story Hours on Wednesdays 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. and Thursdays 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.: Picture books, crafts and fun designed to inspire the love of reading for ages 3 – 5. Social Work Intern Thanks to an LSTA grant through the Niles Library, Watervliet Library will have a shared intern. Need help with on-line applications, unemployment or housing? The intern can help with questions or problems. Call 463-6382 with questions on any Watervliet Library activity.


100 years ago – 1918 Is your heart right? Are you an American? Coloma Township is $12,000 short on her quota for the Fourth Liberty Loan. It is sincerely hoped that no citizen will fail to do his duty. This township will have no “slackers.” Coloma is badly in need of firefighting equipment. The alarm was sounded when the roof of Mrs. Lottie Crumb’s house was on fire. Volunteer firemen found the automobile and the hook and ladder trucks not in condition for use. They grabbed ladders and hastened to the fire. Farmers with vineyards have been reaping a golden harvest. Local buyers are paying 32 cents per basket. The sophomores unveiled a high school service flag. It contained sixty stars representing the former students who are now in the army or navy. 60 years ago – 1958 Services were held for Frederick John Koerber, 79, at Davidson Funeral Home. He was a well known farmer, and then operated the Phillips 66 station on Paw Paw Street for 10 years. Burial will take place in the Kniebes Cemetery in Bainbridge Township. Comets football team will attempt a win this Friday. They travel to Benton Harbor to clash with the St. Johns’ eleven on Filstrup Field. Members of the Southwest Michigan Water Ski Association elected officers. Hank Klitchman is president. A celebration was held for Virginia DiMaggio, who is leaving the club. 30 years ago – 1988 We Asked You… “Should the Orchard Hill Landfill be allowed to expand?” Jill Davis, Frank Spagnola and Francis Muller all say “No,” with concerns on pollution, the water supply and the smell. Jackie Hauch of Bainbridge said emphasis should be put on recycling. High School seniors Emily Fournier and Brian Bittner were crowned Homecoming Queen and King. The Coloma Township Board voted to replace a 3,500 gallon water tank on a Coloma Fire Department truck. The Movie Zoo in downtown Coloma celebrating 5 year anniversary… all movies 99 cents per day. 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


100 years ago – 1918 Church bells, the fire alarm, a drum corps and excited voices joined in general bedlam in Hartford Sunday morning over news that Germany, Austria and Turkey had surrendered – but the story later proved to be a canard. The news came over the telegraph wires shortly after midnight, but on advice of Village President Walker the celebrators waited until seven o’clock in the morning before starting the bedlam. The report is believed to be German propaganda, and mayhap was intended to injure the Fourth Liberty Loan. 75 years ago – 1943 The Hartford Mother’s Club met Monday evening, October 4, at the home of Mrs. Leo Chaney. Two guests were present at the meeting. During the business meeting arrangements were made to spend one evening a month working at the Red Cross headquarters at Paw Paw. Supt. Gordon Hawkins will address the Commercial-Farmer Club Thursday evening, using as his theme “education during the last sixteen years as it had been affected by economic changes.” Mr. Hawkins stated today that the basis for his talk would be his personal observations of the phases of educational progress during the years he has been serving as teacher and administrator. 50 years ago – 1968 The newest invention of the Friday Tractor Co., Inc. of Hartford is the Swing-Tote, a machine for transporting bulk boxes in apple orchards. David Friday, president of the firm, said that the Sing-Tote will permit handling bulk boxes faster and easier than with several forklifts. General Telephone Co. of Michigan has budgeted $4,000 for additional pole lines and local service cable to provide for some reduction in parties per line in the north rural area of Hartford. Also scheduled for the Hartford exchange is expenditure of $1,000 for preliminary engineering for an additional 200 lines and 400 terminals to central office dial equipment to provide for growth of the exchange.

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


90 years ago – 1928 Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Carpenter were pleasantly surprised when they went to their sons’ house for dinner and found many other family members and friends there to help celebrate their 61st wedding anniversary. Mr. Carpenter is 80 years old and his wife, 79. E.H. Babcock has just completed the building of a milk house for Isaac Pettit on Pleasant Street. Watervliet High School is announcing its second annual night school at which time parents of pupils and all other interested are invited to attend the classes and inspect the work that is being done in the school. 60 years ago – 1958 Watervliet Foundry Company, located at the head of Elm Street owned and operated by Wade Stine has changed hands, Paul Menhaus of LaPorte, IN being the new owner. Mr. Stine acquired the foundry during the early years of WWII. Mr. and Mrs. A. Robbins quietly observed their 63rd wedding anniversary on Oct. 2, 1958. Many gifts of food, flowers and other expressions of friendship were received, including over a hundred cards in honor of the day. Pfc. Alvy H. Winkel, 24, son of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert C. Winkel, Watervliet, recently participated with the 8th Infantry Division in annual combat efficiency Army training tests in Germany. 30 years ago – 1988 The Watervliet Paper Company, a landmark institution since 1910, announced it will be closing its doors due to financial difficulties. Mayor Robert Flaherty said the announced plant closing “is a shock. It really shakes you up!” Vicki Haynes, Adjusted Studies teacher at South Elementary, has been selected as ‘Employee of the Month’. This is her ninth year at Watervliet. The annual awards banquet for the Chicagoland Water Ski Association, home-based on Paw Paw Lake, was held. These awards have been presented yearly since 1963 to the Skier of the Year. One winner this year is Lisa Ledebuhr, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ernst Ledebuhr of Watervliet. 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


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