10-26-2017 Tri-City Area History Page

100 year celebration of education in Watervliet, 1889-1989

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


There is a famous painting by Edward Hopper called Nighthawks.  It hangs in the Chicago Art Institute and has been reproduced so many times, I’m sure you have seen a copy of it.  An all night restaurant is casting light out onto the dark deserted city street.  Four people are in the diner… a couple sitting at the counter, a lonely man sitting with his back to the street, and the counter man working, perhaps making some more coffee.   It is a most lonely scene.

We have eaten in such restaurants!  In our later travel years, the kids all grown and on their own; we were still going places, and if the fit hit us we sometimes drove all night.  We had a good set of wheels under us, and I was talking to the truckers on our CB radio.  We stopped in such an all night restaurant, I believe, on the outskirts of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  It was a long narrow eatery, part of a well-known chain with light cast out onto the street.

It was about 5 a.m., and down the line a booth with some possibly gangbangers.  Where they were coming from, or where they were going, I have no idea.  I studiously avoided looking at them.  A couple of lonely men in other booths.  We were eating an early breakfast, and from my seat, I could see out into the kitchen.  The short order cook was getting up a waffle, and as I watched he tilted the plate.  The waffle slid out onto the floor.  Hastily he bent down, forked it back onto the plate and brought it out to serve to a customer!

Well, I never wanted to go into that restaurant chain again… unfair, perhaps, but I doubt the quality of any eatery that doesn’t train their help better than that!  One time years ago we were talking with Al Ruppert, owner of Clementine’s.   Now there’s a quality place!  He was telling us about training waitpersons.  You might notice on their water glasses there is a ridge around about half way up.  He said waitpersons were supposed to grab the glass BELOW THAT RIDGE!  Not from the top from whence a customer sips the liquid therein!

As I said, over the years the Chief Accountant and I traveled extensively.  That means we ate in a lot of restaurants.  And we were at the mercy of whoever was in the kitchen!  So we found that one of the universally good items is the cheeseburger.  Hard to tamper with one of them, and admittedly I’d just about as soon have one as a steak!

You might get a bad salad bar… even if it looks good.  One time I was coming down the line of one in a nice eatery in a neighboring town.  Here ahead of me was a well-dressed older lady… in a quandary.  She had a salad on her plate, but could not decide which of the many dressings to put on it.  So she dipped her finger in each one… tasted it, then tried the next one WITH THE SAME FINGER!  I bypassed the whole thing right there!  And since then I still love a good salad bar… but I don’t usually put dressing on it!

Thus we became experts on the cheeseburger.  Here in Hartford the Panel Room cooks up an excellent one.  Far as I know it is called just a cheeseburger. Same with Becky and Jack Trauber’s other two family eateries in Watervliet and Paw Paw.  Sometimes when I order one, the Chi