10-05-17 Tri-City Record History Page

Fairview Beach, Paw Paw Lake

 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

Long autumn thoughts

We have reached that time of year!  Some evening just step outside and take a deep breath… a tang in the air, a crispness.  Golden trees hang motionless in the still night air, a slight smell of smoke.  We’re not supposed to burn leaves any more.  Perhaps some neighbor has started his fireplace.  If it is Friday night we can hear the crowds cheering our football team in the high school stadium.

This is my favorite time of year.  Its beauty is tinged with sadness, because we know what is coming after!  But I like winter too… it’s just that it gets old later waiting for spring renewal.  Each season has its own beauty, and something about this time of year always makes me want to sum up… to think back… consider what the year has had to offer.  And what good use we have made of the chance to enjoy another round of changes in God’s world.

We started out with spring… new growth, new hope, and a tabula rasa (clean slate) on which to write the events of our lives.   When I was a kid, spring was always special… the green wind, smelling of change… get off those old clunky winter shoes and if lucky get some new tennis shoes.  Light and feathery… they always put wings on our feet.  We had no special name brand running foot wear, just tennis shoes… but always special.

We flew kites in the open fields south of town.  My Dad made me a box kite… it was patriotic red, white, and blue… also special!  A little warmer, then we could go out to Hog Creek, east of Hartford… fishing and a camp fire.  We saved money for a can of pork and beans, and maybe even a tin of kippered snacks!  First time we tried heating the beans in a camp fire, we didn’t know enough to punch a hole in the can.  And it blew!  Sent can and a trail of beans out over the water.

Summers were for swimming… whenever and wherever we got the chance.  Lucky thing our folks liked picnics… that meant a park… water… swimming!  Is Lake Michigan warmer now than it was back in the day?  Seems as though we went in, even with chattering teeth, and a reply to our mom’s worry… “No, it’s plenty warm,” uttered between blue lips.  Holidays!  Memorial Day, July 4th, and when Labor Day rolled around, we knew it was going to be back to school.

Autumn football and falling leaves.  Smoky fires all over town, and the quietness of our earth cooling down and preparing for a long winter’s sleep; this was just about my special time, even though winter was to follow.  But snow and cold are no deterrent to kids.  We skated, skied, and sledded down all the local hills.  You see, we knew that spring would always follow!

Thus we went through the seasons of our early lives.  Golden moments spent recklessly.  We didn’t even know they were golden, because we all had kid problems!  Perhaps a bully who wanted to knock our front teeth out.  Have you forgotten that your little kid problems seemed as large to you then as those we face as adults?  That’s why I try never to say to kids, “Quit complaining, you never had it so good!”

Now I haven’t mentioned the March my sister and I both mostly lost because we had measles!  I have not mentioned the times we had to do things we did not wish to do… because we were little kids.  And little kids mind!  At least back then we did!  One time I helped Paul Richter, a neighbor boy, pick gooseberries.  What are they, you ask?  Well, gooseberries are about one size larger than b-b pellets… slightly green in color and much prized for jams and jellies back in the day.  Personally, I could have given them up along with cumquats, quinces, and paw paw apples.

I don’t know why this beautiful autumn season prompts me to sift through the past, to think about how the year has gone.  And to think about all of our friends and loved ones.  Some have slipped away from us, and we miss them.  One old philosopher said, “People are dying that never died before!”  There is no cure for grief, except maybe for time.  That lessens the hurt and makes it easier to bear… but it will always still be there.

How have we been doing?  Well, we don’t travel as much as in former days.  That means our world is smaller.  But we travel through the magic of TV and friends who go to exotic places and come back to tell us tales of their adventures.  We still have business to conduct, and I am so thankful for the Chief Accountant who still keeps me grounded in reality!  I’m still writing (for better or worse!).  Daughter Becky’s Jim has one of those little tablets that do everything except wipe your nose!  He takes many pictures, and then of an evening they project them on our giant TV screen.  Just recently we traveled with them to one of our favorite resorts, Mackinac Island!  It looks just as it did when we were there!

As our world has gotten smaller, our kids have all conspired to keep our freezer supplied, and our world on an even keel.   We enjoy family and friends as much as ever… perhaps even more!  And no least part of that are… you readers!  Over the years we hope we have gotten to be friends.  I know you’re out there!   Sometimes in various ways we hear about our readers.

I have been giving advice on writing, as I said in a recent column.  I’ll always be interested in that. But I will never judge!  There were times when I was introduced to a new friend who said, “Oh, oh, I’d better be careful if you are an English teacher!”  That’s nonsense!  I never judge friends… just glad to have the conversation!   But if I am asked, I will still do a seminar, even in a phone booth!  And I still enjoy going out on the back porch of an autumn evening, taking a deep breath, and soaking in the beauty of autumn in our storybook town along the Paw Paw River!  All part of the golden tapestry of life!

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.

Book Club

The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, October 12 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Behind Closed Doors” by B.A. Paris.  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.

Baby and Me

The library will be offering a Baby and Me program on Fridays at 10:30 a.m. beginning on October 13 and continuing through November 17. This program is for babies, young toddlers and their parents/caregivers. Join Miss Holly for a short story, interactive play and songs as well as an opportunity to introduce babies to the library.

Rosanne Bittner Visit

On Thursday, October 26 at 5:30 p.m. the Coloma Public Library will host a Meet the Author Night with USA Today bestselling author, Rosanne Bittner, a Coloma native. During this event Bittner will be available to sign books and answer questions. Her newest book, “The Last Outlaw” and a short story titled “Chick-A-Dee Christmas” will be available for purchase and signing. In anticipation of her visit the Coloma Library has select titles available for check-out.

Book Sale

The annual Fall Book Sale will be Saturday, October 28 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Browse the great selection of gently used books, DVDs, magazines, puzzles, etc. for affordable prices. The book sale takes place in the library’s lower level.

If you have any questions about the sale or any of the activities please contact the library at 468-3431.

Watervliet District Library News

Paranormal Investigators: Monday, Oct 9 – 6:30 p.m.

It’s the season for a good scare, and the folks from Shadow Spirit Paranormal investigators are here to deliver. Discover the secrets and science of paranormal investigation from the people who track down bumps in the night.

Teen Table Projects: October

We’re all about the undead this month. Stop by for your Zombie fix! Plus: The Walking Dead – (the board game), on the table all month long.

Story Hour: Wed. at 10:30 a.m. & Thur. at 1:30 p.m.

October through April show-and-tell, stories and crafts for children ages 3 – 5 and their families. Sign up to share this structured literacy program with your preschooler!

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.


Monday mornings from 9–10; Wednesday evenings from 7-8; Wednesday evenings 6:00-6:45, Chair Yoga


100 years ago – 1917

The Courier received a letter from “our boys” that have joined up with Uncle Sam. Roy Leedy, Lawrence Grice and Arthur H. Clarke all are part of the 1st Co. Military Police. They send their thanks to the people of Coloma for the fine send-off they gave to all the boys.

Following an illness, the death of Mrs. Cynthia Green occurred at the home of her daughter, Mrs. L. DeFields in North Coloma. Funeral services were held at the home of Mrs. DeFields.

60 years ago – 1957

Coloma’s request for federal funding for the sewage disposal plant has been tabled again. The city fathers are hoping to get $50,000 in funding.

Unused eyeglasses are being collected by Coloma Lions for people of South America, Lion president Victor Wier announced.

Members of the Coloma school faculty attended a fall “get-together.”

Genuine Duo-Therm Radiant Circulator Fuel Oil Heater – Available at Coloma Hardware, a real buy at $74.95.

Mr. and Mrs. Joe E. Wells attended the Wells Clan reunion at the Pokagon Township Hall.

Washington eighth grade girls will hold a bake sale. Boys, you may try your baking skills too.

30 years ago – 1987

A special auction will be held at the CHS auditorium. For a minimum bid of $3, a student may be hired for two hours of work. Funds raised go to the football team and the pom-pom squad.

Senior Citizen Annual Christmas Brunch and Shopping Trip: Begin with brunch in the Coloma High School cafeteria with entertainment by the vocal music department. Then board the bus to the Crossroads Mall.

Jaime and Kathy Churchill show items available at the annual bazaar of the First Congregational United Church of Christ. Lunch is available.

Middle School AWARE teachers tackle a new course in thinking skills.


100 years ago – 1917

Scoring success despite constantly dripping skies, the fifth annual Van Buren County Fair came to an end at the Hartford fairgrounds last Saturday. It was the first time since its establishment in 1913 that rain has fallen upon the fair.

Automobile thieves made a successful haul in Hartford early last Saturday morning when they made a clean getaway with a new six cylinder Buick touring car, taken from the garage of Thomas Doyle on north Maple Street. The thieves gained admission to the garage by digging a hole under the driveway door large enough for a man to crawl through, and then unlocking the door from the inside.

75 years ago – 1942

Fifty more air raid wardens and fire watchers are needed in Hartford Township according to Al Ishoy, chief air raid warden. A new class will start about November 1 and volunteers are being sought to augment the men and women who took the training when the first course was offered.

The Hartford Women’s Club will meet Tuesday afternoon, October 13, at 2:00 p.m. The meeting will be held in the library rooms with Mrs. Ethel Anderson as hostess. Mrs. Amy Dowd will lead the discussion for the afternoon which will be on current events.

A committee representing Hartford service organizations was formed this week to carry on several duties in connection with the recognition of Hartford Township men who are serving in the armed forces. The committee includes members from the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Legion Auxiliary and Daughters of Union Veterans, with Mayor Leo F. Latus as ex officio committeeman.

50 years ago – 1967

The Michigan Fire Service Instructors will burn the former Henry Miller home a mile east of Hartford on Red Arrow Highway Sunday morning as a training exercise. Harold Walker Jr., Hartford Fire Department captain, said 30 to 40 fire fighting instructors from all over Michigan are expected to take part in the drill.

Hartford acquired a big-city type electric sign when a revolving time and temperature sign was installed at the First Savings Association office on N. Center Street. Temperature shows in lighted numbers on one side and time on the other, and it revolves rapidly enough to enable motorists driving by to catch both before they pass.


90 years ago – 1927

City Commissioner and Mrs. W.E. Nelson are leaving on a motor trip east. They plan to go as far as Pittsburg. It is their wedding anniversary trip.

The Smith Ice Cream company has purchased of N.C. Spong the ice house property at Forest Beach. Mr. Frank C. Smith says their old ice house at the rear of the post office block will be razed and the house at the lake will be utilized for the storage of the concern’s supply of natural ice. The Forest Beach house has a capacity of 650 tons of ice.

Carl Otto and family have moved from the house on Elm Street to the Woodruff house across the street. Mr. Otto is state highway department manager for this section.

60 years ago – 1957

Mr. and Mrs. Edson Stickney were guests of honor at a surprise dinner party for the occasion of their 20th wedding anniversary. Many friends and family were there with gifts.

Martin Callendar, Watervliet, MM, U.S. Navy, who is attached to the USS Tarawa, CNS 40, is enjoying an eleven day leave at Rotterdam, Holland, while his ship is based at the point.

Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Lyman will quietly observe their 66th wedding anniversary at their home in Watervliet. Mr. and Mrs. Lyman are 89 and 87 respectively.

30 years ago – 1987

Jason Forrester, son of William and Margaret Forrester, is the Student of the Week. He loves sports and probably gets this love from his father, who is Watervliet 7th grade football coach. He is highly academic and belongs to the Watervliet Junior High Honor Club. His other interests include photography; he brings his own camera for photos for the school paper.

Navy Seaman Carlton E. Melton, son of Clyde and Shirley Melton of Watervliet, recently deployed on a 6-month deployment to the Mediterranean aboard the battleship USS Iowa, home ported in Norfolk, Virginia. During the deployment, Melton will participate in several exercises.

Brian Coon has been named in Who’s Who among American High School Students. Brian, a senior at WHS, will appear in the Who’s Who yearbook. Only 6% of all junior and senior class students of the nation’s 22,000 high schools are recognized and honored.


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