10-20-2016 Tri-City Area History Page

Paw Paw River Journal

Another Anniversary

 The most important relationship in my life started when I was 16… In those days I wandered the halls of Hartford High School trying to be cool along with the rest of my friends.  There was a dark eyed girl who went around the study hall every day, gathering up the tardy and absent slips.  I pretended to be reading a book until she came past.  Then I looked up and gave her my best smile.  And she smiled back. She was too young to go on car dates, so we met at after-game dances, Clark’s Drug Store, and whenever we could get together.  I remember vividly the first time I kissed her. Blast off to the moon… or perhaps Mars!  And we dated until after I was graduated.  Her folks did not want her to go steady, and we parted ways as I went on to school.  She was graduated a year later and went into Nurses’ Training. Then magically the tumblers of the universe clicked into place.  I came home on leave after finishing pilot training in the Air Force.  For some reason I had been dreaming vividly.  Once it was of crashing into another plane while in flight… a wonder my heart didn’t stop on that one!  Another time I dreamed of her.  She was older, but still beautiful. And this was a harbinger of things to come. We both happened to be home on leave at the same time, and we got together at a picnic and beach party… and were right back where we were before.  My leave ended with great reluctance, but we had gotten back together… never to be apart from that time on. Some years later when we were married and living in Hartford, we were gathered at the dinner table.  We always found it important to eat thus… a regular time, and all gathered together.  There we were, my Chief Accountant at one end, me at the other, and between us two on each side… our four young children.  Marion said she wanted to have four children by the time she was thirty.  And she just made it. Anyway, we were sitting there eating, and I noticed one of our girls (about 5) looking around at each person… as if she were assessing something.  Then she said, “Dad, how old was you when Mom got you?”  They all stopped to hear what I would say. I replied, “Oh, guess I was about your age.” The questioner, looking satisfied, said, “I thought so,” as if something in her mind had been confirmed, then they all went back to eating.  You see, the mother is central.  The whole house revolves around her, and she is the one who makes it work.  She is like that Chinese guy who used to be on the old Ed Sullivan show.  He kept a bunch of plates spinning as they were balanced on top of sticks. Now add another ingredient to the mix.  Marion is a registered nurse.  And she has enjoyed her profession.  In addition to that, we could always use extra money.  Our family doctor, Carl Boothby, had his office right the next block over.  She was one of his office nurses and worked evenings when I could be home with the kids and see that they got to bed on time. In addition, she did some private duty at local hospitals.  I can speak to that, because she went into surgery with me twice.  Watervliet Hospital, the old one downtown, was small; and they were chronically short of help.  So, Marion scrubbed and went into surgery with me when I had a hot appendix.  Second time, I had a double hernia repaired.  She wheeled me in, assisted with the surgery, and then took me to recovery. When we went back to my room, she tucked me in, helped me get up and go to the bathroom, and saw that I had a supper tray… what little I could eat. Then about 9 p.m. she tucked me in, smoothed my sheets, kissed me goodnight, and said. “See you in the morning!”  As she went out, a guy in the next bed reared up and looked at me.  He said, “Where do you get those girls?  I want one of them!” After she took care of my Mom in her final illness, Marion said, “I’m getting burned out on this nursing.  I’d like to try something else!”  So she and a friend, another RN, went to the University of Michigan and took classes to get their real estate sales license.  We were living in Ann Arbor at the time, so we had at hand the best university (ahem!) in the Midwest! Then we discovered something!  People want to look at houses evenings and on weekends.  We had a family conference and decided our time together was more important.  She put her license in escrow, along with her nursing license… and thereafter concentrated on being our Chief accountant… a position she has ably filled ever since.  We’ve had friends whose marriages did not turn out well… They must have heard that old song by Billie Holiday, “Good morning, heartache, walk right in!”  I thank God every day for the years we have had together.  I could not wish for more than that.  Kenny Rogers says it well in a song…  “Through the years, you’ve never let me down.  You turned my life around, the sweetest days I’ve found… I’ve found with you”… Through the years! So this is a tribute to my Chief Accountant, as I look at the golden threads we are still weaving into the tapestry of life in our story book towns along the Paw Paw River.


100 years ago – 1916

 A very quiet wedding took place when Mrs. Marie Garvey of Chicago became the wife of the well known farmer E.J. Walther Sr. They will be at home to their many friends at 4121 Union Avenue, Chicago.  Dr. and Mrs. J.H. Randall celebrated their golden anniversary with their family. They were presented with fifty gold dollars and several presents in gold suitable for this occasion.  Subscribe to The Courier and the Chicago Daily Tribune for only $3.50 per year.

60 years ago – 1956

 Mrs. Walter Price will present a recital in the Furman Room of the First Congregational Church. The senior choir of the church is sponsoring the recital.  Thirty guests attended the pink and blue shower held for Mrs. Byron Ashbrook. Mrs. Clarence Sheets hosted the event.  The Ingraham School PTA Fall Festival will be held at the school. Mrs. A. J. Tasic and Mrs. Raymond Becht were hostesses for the meeting.  A Style Show was held at Pier school. The Camp Fire Girls of the school sponsored the show.

30 years ago – 1986

 Grandpa Palmer’s cartoon has the chicken reminding the rooster to crow an hour later because the clocks are turned back this weekend.  The Coloma Glad Peach Inc. meeting has 32 in attendance. They had considered disbanding if there was not enough community interest. Past president Mary Collis is pleased with the turnout and suggestions.  The Rory Becht Wrestling Benefit raised $1,500. Event chairman Jim Noack said over 400 tickets were sold.  The 5th annual Halloween Fun Fair, sponsored by Coloma Elementary PTO, will be held in lieu of trick-or-treating. Vice President Pat Leverton listed games, fish pond, cake walk, craze maze, spooky characters, cider, donuts and more are part of this fun evening.


90 years ago – 1926

 Beginning October 19, Smith’s Cider Mill will run Tuesdays and Fridays of each week on custom grinding. Kegs and barrels are for sale at the plant in Watervliet.  A crowd of people estimated at 300 attended the Watervliet Paper Mill Halloween party, dedicating the fine new addition to the mill completed on Oct. 10. A number of special electrical Halloween illuminations were arranged under the direction of the mill’s electrician.  F.H. Merrifield grocery department advertised on Nov 5, 1926: Old Dutch Coffee lb/.50; Turkey lb/.55; All Tobaccos 3 for .25; Large cornflakes .16; Yacht Club Cocoa lb/.20; Sweet potatoes 10 lbs/.25; Bread 3 loaves for .25

60 years ago – 1956

  1. Sgt. Alfred Mainwaring and Mrs. Mainwaring, are the parents of a son, Victor Arthur, born Sep. 30, 1956 and weighing in at 10 lbs. 0 oz.  Clark D. Shimer recently was promoted to specialist third class while a member of the 11th Airborne Division in Germany. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Shimer, Watervliet.  Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Ketchum are the proud parents of their baby girl, Terry Lee, born Sep. 27, 1956 and weighing 8 lbs., 5-1/2 oz.

30 years ago – 1986

 Darlene Simmons, a fourth grader at Watervliet North Elementary School, has been credited with saving the life of her four-year-old brother on Oct. 21, 1986. While burning trash outside, a spark ignited his clothes. He began to run and the fire quickly spread. As their mother arrived, Darlene reminded her to “stop, drop and roll”. She had remembered the “stop, drop and roll” from the fire safety demonstrations with the Watervliet Fire Department. Her brother was treated and released for minor burns.  Chantelle Brewer, daughter of Larry and Loretta Brewer, is the student of the week. She has been a cheerleader for the past three years. Plays clarinet in the band, plays softball and bowls. She is a member of the Honor Roll and is student representative for the 10th grade in the Student Council.


100 years ago – 1916

 Over 100 men were present at a meeting held at the town hall last Thursday evening to confer with J.A. Scheyer, President of the Reliance Picture Frame company of Chicago, upon a proposal to establish a branch factory in Hartford.  On Monday a committee consisting of G.W. Merriman, L.P. Walker, C.E. Kinney and Wm. N. Smith went to Chicago to inspect the company’s Chicago factory, and they have returned with an excellent report of the industry.

75 years ago – 1941

 Lloyd Blyly and his brother-in-law, Dick Miller, have brought in several of the bright plumaged game birds. Blyly has a sensible dog that does much of the work. Roy Grosse has placed pheasant pot pie on the family table through his dexterity with a gun. Al Ison and Harold Walker are others who have brought home the game meat.  Those of the Hartford Garden Club, who were brave enough to venture out and spend an afternoon in the woods, even though the weather was threatening, enjoyed a rare treat. Dr. Pepoon, the guide, showed the club members many interesting plants and trees. Light refreshments were served at the home of Mrs. Stan Putney.

50 years ago – 1966

 Mrs. Ronald Jensen won the world’s largest bag of groceries at Tim’s Supermarket. Customers were invited to register for the giveaway during the last two weeks.  Hartford firemen awarded dolls and trucks as prizes in a Fire Prevention week poster coloring contest for local youngsters. Among the winners in Kindergarten at the north and south schools were Cheryl Rittenhouse, Dale Kessinger, Kirk Dale, Douglas Parker and Carrie Rinehart.  The Hartford Camera Club will begin its 18th year when it meets at 8 p.m. Thursday in the bank community room. Hostesses for the evening are Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Aiken. Charles Dorkowski, guest, will show slides that he took while in service in Australia and Japan.


Downtown Coloma during Gladiolus Festival 1951 Parade; queens are riding in the cars.  The State Bank of Coloma and the Loma Theatre are in the background.  North Berrien Historical Museum is always interested in learning the names of people in the photos and/or hearing stories about the place/event.  To share, please call 269-468-3330 or email info@northberrienhistory.org.

Watervliet District Library News

 Buy a brick from the Watervliet District Library as a legacy gift to honor the cherished people in your life. Help create a new Garden Park for our community.  Toddler Time is a 30 minute class every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.  Story Hour is on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. or Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. Bring your children ages 3 to 5 for fun and educational times; stories, show and tell, and songs and games.  Yoga is at 9:00 a.m. every Monday morning and Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m.  Adult Coloring Night is the last Monday of each month.  For more information call the library at 269-463-6382, visit the website at www. watervlietlibrary.net, or come in.

Coloma Library News

Book Sale

 The library’s annual book sale will be Saturday, October 29 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the library’s lower level. The library will be OPEN during the sale. Do not miss out on this HUGE sale of gently used books, DVDs, videos and more!

Story Hour

Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. at the library. Story Hour is for preschool aged children; join Miss Amy for a story, craft and song time. It is asked that all children be supervised by an adult. Story hour is a free program and no registration is required.

Book Club

The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting for a book discussion on Thursday, October 27 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman.  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. For more information, please stop in the library or call 468-3431.


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CALL: 269-463-6397
FAX: 269-463-8329

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