10-31-2019 Tri-City Area History Page

From 1940, Bill Umphrey (right) & unknown man using what has been called a lawn mower. Is this early motor driven object a lawn mower or some other piece of equipment? Who is the man? Contact North Berrien Historical Museum, 300 Coloma Ave., Coloma; 269-468-3330; info@northberrienhistory.org or find them on Facebook @northberrienhistory. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum

The Paw Paw River Journal

Hold back the night

At the close of day with the sun setting over the western wing of our buildings here at The Vineyard, I would say to the Chief Accountant, “I hate to see the day end!” At first she asked me why I felt that way. I told her it’s because another day of our life is gone. We are like stringing pearls on a necklace. Well, there’s another one gone! And it bothered me. Not as much now for some reason. Perhaps just because I don’t treasure the days as I did when she was here with me. But that’s not what I wanted to discuss, Dear Readers. I really want to talk about time and how people have always been fascinated by it. We just can’t understand what the passage of time means. Can you remember when you were a wee nipper? How much different time was then in its passage. I must have been about four or five. One soft summer morning I came outside into the quiet stillness. No one stirring… I was all alone in the morning. My dad had planted hollyhocks along the sidewalk. They nodded their heads in the slight breeze and I was filled with something… I don’t know what. It was a fullness of being almost to the point of overflowing! At that age a year takes forever. Waiting for a birthday, or Christmas. Would it ever get here? Just think about that… a year was 1/5 of our life at that age! I knew nothing of the world and its problems, so they weighed not on my mind. I first remember sitting in Blanche Conaway’s studio on Main Street. My sister and I were having our picture taken. I was wearing a new pair of striped red and white socks. All I remember is sitting there looking at those socks and waiting. I was about a year and a half old! My mom saved those socks in a drawer and one day some years into our marriage, she gave them to the Chief Accountant who also saved them in a drawer. They still exist, mute testimony to something that happened about 94 years ago! You remember when you were a teenager and waiting for something? Perhaps a date with that one special person? I can remember sitting in the Heart Theater on Main Street in Hartford. I was about 17 and next to me was the Chief Accountant… at that time 16. Outside winter winds and snowing. We were watching Bing Crosby’s Holiday Inn. Christmas season! I had given her some Evening in Paris perfume, and with our heads together I could just catch a hint of that fragrance. It still took quite a while for a birthday or some special event to come around. How about when you were 40? At that age what were you looking forward to? A year didn’t take nearly as long to pass. I was sitting in our living room on the shore of Long Island Sound. An old house, it had weathered many storms. We rented it for a year while I was going to school. A doctor and his wife had furnished it lovingly with antiques. We first moved in with four children and I know the wife, Dorothy, had some reservations. As time passed and she saw our kids were not destructive, she kept bringing out more and more of her beautiful furniture for us to use. Have you ever read Treasure Island? That house reminded me of what the old Adm. Benbow Inn might have looked like. Old, old furniture… in the dining room a harvest table that had burn rings in its surface from lead pots to make bullets for the Revolutionary War. Padded window seats where a kid could curl up with a book and listen to waves crashing on the seawall! Evening, and I sat in a lounger listening to Big Band music on the radio station in New Haven, Connecticut. I was so filled with the old house and it’s past. I was thinking this is so wonderful but it’s not going to last! In a few months we will be back to our lives in Michigan. And these will be just treasured memories. I was about 40, and the year didn’t take nearly as long as when I was a kid! Later, when I was in my 60s and 70s (you may or may not have passed that milestone) we were setting up camp at Traverse City State Park. I hooked up electricity to our trailer. The girls and Rob had all set up their tents on our site. Dark night with a soft wind bringing us evergreen smells, the air up there is so pure! I took in all of the campground odors and thought… it doesn’t get much better than this. I knew waiting in the trailer would be a hot meal and an iced jug of martinis. And the girl of my dreams, forever! I must admit at that age time went a lot faster! It was getting to be not enough hours in the day to get done what I had to do! My mom warned me it would be like this! And it has turned out to be so; and right up until about a year ago we were living in our big old house. Christmas time! All the family gathered for our annual celebration. The smell of food preparing and the Chief Accountant’s spaghetti recipe. It would be simmering on the stove and I know son Rob came by, smelled it and added a little more wine. Then I came by, smelled it and also added a little more wine. All that only made it better. We were gathered around the big harvest table I had made… just like the one we had out in Connecticut. We asked for God’s blessing on our food, and at the end daughter Becky added, “And God bless us everyone!” (Just like tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol) How soon the holidays rolled around now! And thus it has been ever since! Time goes now so fast! It’s like way back when we took our toboggan to ‘killer hill’ in Grand Rapids. They had a steep run there and we were going to try it. We got in position, me first, then the Chief Accountant, then brother-in-law Ron. We could not see the track over the bulge of the hill… It was so steep! Ron shoved us off, and away we went at a speed to take away our breath. So steep we wanted to lift off the sled. Then in no time we are at the bottom and slowing down. That’s the way time is for me at this age. I get up and get my clothes on. The girls on duty help me get ready and down to the dining room. I watch the sun come up as I’m waiting for breakfast… my best meal! Fruit, fruit juice, waffle, egg over medium, bacon, and coffee or hot chocolate. Yes, it’s that good! Back to the apartment and work on stories. Wow! Time for lunch. Down there with help and eat a light meal… perhaps soup and/or a sandwich. Back in the room, reading for a while, and take a nap. Good grief! Time to get ready for supper. Down there again with some help, and eat perhaps the main meal. Then back to the apartment. An evening of television or visiting, if there is anyone to visit with. Evening meds and a little bowl of cereal. Then bed and I don’t know where the day has gone! My mom was so right! Here in these storybook towns another day has gone by, zippety doo-dah! At this age we are over the brow of killer hill and are almost lifting right off the sled! And I wonder… where did the day go? Are we still weaving more threads into the Golden Tapestry of Life? I hope so… I really hope so!

Hartford Library News

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, 4:30 p.m., Hartford Public Library will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Award. Learn about Coretta Scott King and the importance of her life and her award. Enjoy the reading and discussion of the Coretta Scott King Award book for non-violent social change, “In Plain Sight” by Richard Jackson and “Firebird” by Misty Copeland. Attendees will receive a free book. Don’t forget the weekly LEGO Build program every Wednesday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. November is Native American Heritage month. In celebration on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 4:30 p.m. is an activity time to make rain sticks. All Hartford Library programs are free.


100 years ago – 1919 As we have made contracts with many fur houses, we are in position to handle your furs. We also need hides and sheep pelts – Ph. 384 or 89. Cider apples wanted! We will pay the highest market price. M. Steffen & Co. Phone 30 The Coloma Theatre – “Revelation” featuring Nazimova. She is the greatest actress of the day as well as a great dancer and pantomimist. 60 years ago – 1959 Participating in the UNICEF drive at the Methodist and Congregation churches are: Charles Carter, Gloria and Constance Smith and Linda Urban. The annual fall festival and chop suey supper will take place at the Methodist church. Games, fancy work, aprons, entertainment and baked goods are for sale. The Boyer PTC sponsored a family potluck supper prior to their regular meeting. Mrs. Wilbur Dorstewitz had direction of the program. The Silver anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Glen Randall was observed. Best man Joe E. Wells and bridesmaid Mrs. James Albright attended the open house, along with many others. Miss Nancy J. Strejc held a principal role in “Arms and the Man,” presented by University Theater at Western Michigan University. 30 years ago – 1989 Seven seek three Commission seats. Incumbents Anita Hirsch, Charles Owen and Thomas Tullio vie contenders August Pupedis Jr., Lois Quigley, Robert Wooley and Galen Blough. Join Sarett Nature Center on a trip to California. Whale watching and migratory birds are on the itinerary. Pre-Christmas Sale – Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks – Nancy’s Furniture and Waterbeds. The Paw Paw Lake – River Ventures meeting was all about Winterfest 1990. Fireworks are being planned. Please contact Del Sipes or John or Lee Bertuca to sponsor. Washington Elementary P.T.O. put on an outstanding Halloween celebration. The event was under the direction of Mrs. Connie Calloway. 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 & Thur, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Sat, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Phone: 269-468-3431


100 years ago – 1919 The section of Hartford’s new concrete road running west from the village to the county line is rapidly nearing completion, and another week of good weather will see the concrete laid to the Pere Marquette railroad tracks. The concrete floor for the new garage being erected by C.E. Kinney on west Main Street will be completed and the laying of cement blocks will begin this week. Mr. Kinney expects to have the garage ready for occupancy before January 1. 75 years ago – 1944 Four times during the last week Hartford’s fire department has been called into service. Early Monday morning the home of Mrs. Ira Spaulding on south Center Street was discovered in flames. Harry Allen turned in the alarm. Mrs. Spaulding who was at home asleep had been awakened by smoke and discovered the fire before Mr. Allen could reach the home to notify her. When firemen arrived at the scene the blaze was spreading rapidly and enveloped the northeast corner of the house before water could be applied. For two hours firemen fought the blaze before it could be extinguished. Other homes within a few feet of the Spaulding residence were endangered. 50 years ago – 1969 Harry Conklin, 64, was slugged by a gun-wielding bandit at Hartford Farm Supply and then bound with adhesive tape. The night before, thieves chopped a hole in the roof of the Hartford Shopping Center and stole nearly $600 according to Hartford police. Conklin told the police that a man came to the door and pointed a gun at him. Conklin admitted the burglar who ordered the watchman to the back of the building. When Conklin took a swing at the burglar with a shovel, the gunman slugged Conklin on the head with a club. The burglar then bound Conklin and took a jacket off a coat rack to put under his bleeding head. Soon after, two persons arrived to service a vending machine and left to give the alarm. Meanwhile the burglars had chopped a hole through a concrete block wall from a bathroom into a vault. They apparently became frightened when they were seen, and left before entering the vault. 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.; Thur & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Phone: 269-621-3408


90 years ago – 1929 Miss Nadine Stewart was recently elected a member of Phi Kappa Phi, a national honorary society. She was one of thirty to be chosen from the University of Michigan. The Watervliet Paper Company gave a banquet to the members of its fire department at the Dill Restaurant. It was attended by 19 of the 22 members, as well as several company department heads. One day during the week of Nov 2, 1929, the Rosenberg & Forbes Company unloaded at their coal yards the largest car of coal ever received at the local yards. The car contained 76 tons of Blue Star coal from the West Virginia fields. 60 years ago – 1959 Miss Helen Lobdell, history and art teacher at Watervliet High School will be one of the speakers at the 1959 Children’s Book Fair to be held in Detroit. Miss Lobdell has published several historical novels for high school students. An estimated 125 witnessed the installation of Mr. and Mrs. Orlando Robbins as Worthy Matron and Worthy Patron of Watervliet Chapter No. 232, Order of the Eastern Star. “A Visit to the Library” is the theme of the dance recital sponsored by the Watervliet Library Association to be given by students of Mrs. Joan Ferguson Boyer. 30 years ago – 1989 The challenge of the 1989 Chicago Marathon was met by Watervliet Jr. High teacher David Wheeler. He completed the 26.2 miles course in just over 3 hours and 25 minutes. The first 22 miles of the race went according to his plans, but the last 4.2 miles proved to be much more difficult. Thanks to the generosity of the WHS alumni, their friends and the sale of centennial T-shirts and newspapers, the Harold Crocker Scholarship committee is gratified to announce the sum of $10,049.23 has been deposited in the bank. The scholarships are awarded to Watervliet graduates with science, math and/or physical education majors. 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, Thur & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Phone: 269-463-6382


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