10-27-2016 Tri-City Area History Page

Paw Paw River Journal

Paw Paw River Journal

Fun with the C.B. Radio

 Some years back almost everyone had a C.B. radio in their car or truck.  I still have one, a Cobra, in an old fun car I own from back in the day.  On the road truckers passed the long hours “ratchet jawing,” as they called it. And many passed information about road blocks, traffic tie-ups, and where the police (smoky bears) were lurking with their radar guns.  Non-truckers, motorists traveling in cars, liked to get in on the act too.  The truckers generally resented this invasion of their domain… especially if the car driver (feather merchant) was acting dorky or nerdy… know what I mean?  Well, I was able to pick up their lingo, and soon truckers were talking with me.  The Chief Accountant said, “You know, you’re getting so you sound just like them!”  Well, that was the idea!  One time the CB saved me from being a victim of road rage… I accidentally cut off a guy behind me when I changed lanes, and I could see him fuming… face turning red!  Noticing he had a whip antenna on his car, I called him on the CB and apologized.  Told him I just did not see him, and he calmed right down.  Another time I passed a trucker while we were talking on the CB.  He said, “Say, that’s a fine looking woman you have with you… what’s her name?”  We had an Apache pop-up camping trailer at the time, so I said, “She’s my better half, and I call her The Apache Princess.”  When he asked me if she got that name because she was a beautiful Native American, I replied, “It’s because one time she took a chance on an Indian blanket!”  He and the other truckers who had been listening wahooed about that for miles down the road.  And my Chief Accountant lectured me, “Bud, you just stop that foolishness!”  But she was laughing as she said it!  Some people back then had base stations… those were CB radios in their homes, and they would talk to travelers who were passing by, giving them weather and road information.  A friend of ours had a base station out in Pennsylvania.  He had a fantastic antenna above his house… it was called a “Moonraker,” and he talked with people hundreds of miles away.  This was strictly illegal, but I don’t think he ever got into trouble.  Another gal had a base station near Tampa, Florida, and I used to talk to her when we went past that area.  That was one cold Christmas vacation.  Now, Floridians often do not like to talk about it when they have bad weather… as though us snow birds were blaming them.  I said to her, “Got kind of frosty last night!”  She admitted it, and when I asked her if they covered up the Spanish moss, she would not talk to me anymore!  There was another gal in Ohio who kept track of weather and road conditions in that part of the state.  Truckers relied on her for info on where the speed traps were and traffic jams… which happen often on the interstates. They were called a “parking lot.”  Have you ever come upon a stalled mass of cars on one of our super highways?  Often it is caused by an accident… people just have to slow down and gawk, even if there is no road block!  Back then some of my favorite truckers worked for Roadway.  I am not sure it is even in business anymore.  One time we were driving out to our favorite spot in Pennsylvania.  We were on I-80, called the Pennsylvania Shortway.  One of our friends worked on its construction as a foreman on curbs and gutters.  He said one area they had to cut through a mountain and it was so deep and required so much blasting it became one of the most expensive stretches in American road history.  Anyway, we were going through that stretch and we fell in with three Big R drivers, as they were called……Blue Ribbon, Nasty, and Marbletop.  This last guy they said they always made go behind them because their radio signals got a good skip off the top of his head, hence the name, Marbletop!  They were great guys and they told us in the deep cut I just mentioned you want to watch out for Smoky bears on the west bound side because it is a long downward grade and it is tempting to let your speed build up… police like to wait at the bottom.  A few years later, son Rob was returning from Pennsylvania and he forgot the warning I had given him.  He had a beautiful Hurst Olds… very fast… and he let the speed build up going down that grade.  It was so easy to do… sure enough, at the bottom a state trooper was waiting for him!   The guy wrote him up for speeding 100 + dollars.  Then he wanted to talk about fast cars and was admiring Rob’s beauty!  We used to travel a lot, sometimes driving all night.  Even when we were pulling a travel trailer, the Chief Accountant would take her turn at the wheel.  In the long hours I spent a lot of time talking on the CB radio with truckers, those knights of the open road!  I know that any of them would have stopped to help a motorist in distress.  And they have helped us.  They were a great bunch, and I miss their company as we are weaving more golden threads into the tapestry of our lives in these story book towns!

Coloma School circa 1888

Coloma School circa 1888

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 the community.  Come watch the garden grow! Arcadia Gardens has been hard at work introducing a variety of flowering shrubs and greenery to their new home in front of the library. Pull in sometime to take a look, and see what is up – inside and out – at the library!  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 this 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 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.



100 years ago – 1916

 The first big Republican rally of the campaign of 1916 will be held at the Coloma Theatre. Hon. George L. Lusk will deliver the main address.  The death of George Frederick Grant occurred at the home of his son, Postmaster William Grant. Mrs. Ira Bailey passed away after being in poor health for the past two years. Interment for both early pioneer settlers is in the Coloma Cemetery.  Bargains – Coburn, The Grocer – Pumpkin, per can, 10 cents; quart can Cocoa, 28 cents; Noiseless Matches, 8 boxes, 12 cents; Ginger Snaps, 1 lb., 9 cents; Fat Back Salt  pork, per pound, 16 cents.

60 years ago – 1956

 Washington School students will stage a “mock election.” Campaigning for their favorite candidates, Ike & Adlai are Ricky Rasmussen, Phyllis Dunning, Elaine Hazen and Gary Methling.  A baby girl each was born to Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Franklin and Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Young.  Frank Urban is enjoying this Indian Summer. His red raspberry plants yielded delicious berries in which The Courier received a sample.  Mrs. Louise Wheat and Mrs. Elsie A. Lockwood were honored at a dinner by Michigan Bell Telephone company. Both have been employed over 30 years.

30 years ago – 1986

 Cadet Flight Officer Lori Katowich, daughter of Mrs. Shirley Cochrane, receives General Billy Mitchell Award. Cadet Major Jack Umphrey, son of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Umphrey, was presented with the Amelia Earhart Award. The ceremony took place at Lake Michigan College.  The DeField Road bridge crossing the Paw Paw River is scheduled for replacement in 1987.  Joan Reinhardt is celebrated for 40 years of dedicated nursing and caring. She “hung up her uniform” in 1985 due to her health. Periodically she returns to Watervliet Hospital and is welcomed with open arms.


100 years ago – 1916

 Yesterday was travel day at the Hartford Woman’s club with Mrs. Ethel Anderson in the chair and Mrs. Stella Mowry as leader for the day. The program was as follows: Roll call, incidents of travel; vocal duet, Misses Bessie and Mabel Hammond, Mrs. Ernestina Smith, accompanist; trip to California and the expositions, Mrs. Myrtle Hammond; reading from Joaquin Miller, Mrs. Metta Skinner.

75 years ago – 1941

 The protest of Hartford’s village council against the return of village streets from the county road system to local control went for naught at the hearing before the county road commission. The principal street handed back to Hartford is Center Street from north to the south village boundaries.  George F. Chamberlin, student at Wesleyan University in Ohio, who was called home last week by the sudden death of his father, Rex Chamberlin, has decided to remain and assist his mother, Mrs. Clara Chamberlin, and his grandmother, Mrs. Elorna Chamberlin, in the management of the Chamberlin Drug Store, which insures a continuance of the family name under which the store has operated for 57 years. Successive owners were the late George Wilson and Paul Baldwin.

50 years ago – 1966

 The Progressive Mothers club annual Community Halloween costume party will be held at 6:45pm, Monday, Oct. 31 at the Hartford high school gymnasium. Masters of ceremonies will be Norb Nelson and judges will select first, second and third place prize winners in each of the following categories: most original, storybook, most gruesome, best hobo, worst witch, funniest, TV character, animal and best homemade. Children can compete in more than one appropriate category provided they are not a previous winner. Each participant will receive a consolation award from a special guest, the PMC clown. Following the judging a grand parade will be held in the cafeteria for refreshments. Spectators are welcome to attend the event.  The Hartford high school band won a first division rating in district marching competition for the 10th year in a row. The 68 piece band is under the direction of Leslie VanWagner this year.


90 years ago – 1926

 Mr. and Mrs. Linton Summerill welcomed an eight-pound son at their home on Sunday, Nov. 7, 1926.  Milton Scherer, who is attending the Chicago University, was home to spend the weekend with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. G.C. Scherer, Watervliet.  Merton Babcock was home from Michigan State College in East Lansing, visiting his family in town.

60 years ago – 1956

 Pvt. Terry L. Bisbee, son of Mr. and Mrs. Augustus E. Bisbee, Watervliet, is a member of the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. Bisbee entered the Army in Nov. 1955 and is a cook in company C of the division’s 35th Regiment.  On Oct. 26, 1956 Ray L. Smith, son of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth L. Smith of Watervliet, completed recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit depot, San Diego, CA. The 12 week training schedule included drill, bayonet training, physical conditioning, parade and ceremonies, and other military subject.  Mr. and Mrs. Earnest Hanners are the proud parents of their baby boy, Franklin Glenn, born Oct. 26, 1986 and weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces.

30 years ago – 1986

 Greg Grear, a fourteen-year-old freshman at WHS, is the student of the week for Nov. 5, 1986. Greg enjoys school, sports, several hobbies, and his family. He is a member of the cross country team and plans to try out for basketball and track.  Watervliet’s equestrian team placed fourth in the state meet held on Oct. 25, 1986. Watervliet had three riders winning a state first, Scott Weber, Tim Dibble and Lisa Tacy all received first place.  Bob Flaherty of Watervliet is one who deserves our thanks and a salute. He was aboard the USS New Orleans in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked. He later served aboard the USS Laffey which was to earn a Presidential Unit Citation for action in the South Pacific.

Coloma Lioness Fashion Show/Luncheon

 On Saturday, November 12 the Coloma Lioness are hosting a fashion show and luncheon at West Street Station Event Hall in Coloma across from the Coloma Post Office.  This will be the 37th annual show with plenty of fashions, prizes, and a wonderful lunch.  It is the Lioness’ biggest fundraiser of the year and promises to be a fun time for all.  Tickets are now on sale for $15 each. Call 269-468-6037 for more information.


Related Posts

See All