12-07-2017 Tri-City Area History Page

DO YOU REMEMBER?  Billy Clark recently shared this photo of construction work on the Coloma Church of God in 1964. That’s him on the roof (top left) speaking with Rev. Noah Combs.  Billy thinks he knows who the others in the photo might be, but is unsure. Call him at 470-2452 if you know their identity.

The Paw Paw River Journal

The wedding suit

 As most of you know, we recently celebrated a wedding anniversary.  Up in Grand Rapids, our niece shared a picture with her daughter who was about to get married.  That daughter sent us the following email message:

Dear Uncle Bud & Aunt Marion,

Happy 70th Wedding Anniversary! My mom recently shared this photo with me before my wedding. We showed my wedding photographer it as an example of what we would like her to try to capture when we exit the church. Special moments like this really can’t be replicated. I love this photo of you two! I enjoy looking at the family and friends surrounding you as bookends on the steps and seeing the joy on your faces as you walk out of the church as newlyweds. Please know you were loved then and are loved all the way to today. You both are great examples of love and commitment and I look up to you!

The girl who sent us the email was a lovely bride, and now all three girls in that family are married.  And as the Chief Accountant and I studied the picture closely, we could see a lot of history there!  Of all the people on the steps that beautiful fall autumn day wishing us well only two are still alive that we know of… Ida Galbreath who was an English teacher at Hartford High.  She was married to one of my best friends, Bill, the wild Irishman.  A good friend of Marion’s, she worked summers at Dr. Carl Boothby’s office when she was not in school.

On the other side of the steps, Bob Kling, he was also in the wedding party, and a handsome teen-age kid.  He is still with us, and is the third child in Marion’s family.  We had good times with Marion’s brothers… summertime we took Bob and Louis with us down to Lake Michigan for swimming.  Winters we skied the country roads behind the Kling Farms pickup.

But back to the picture… Marion had a beautiful gown.  A lady who worked in South Bend’s biggest department store helped her pick it out from a Bride’s Magazine.  She even got Marion a discount on it.  I had a new suit for the occasion.  Very few in our generation rented tuxedos, because you could buy a pretty good quality suit for about the same price!  And all of our good clothes had to do double duty for such occasions!

For instance, in Benton Harbor there was a clothing store named Robert Hall’s.  They said in their ads, “No frills, just good clothes on plain pipe racks!”  Remember that one?  I can’t recall if I got my suit there, but it was a beautiful gray gabardine.  And best of all, I could wear it in my teaching job afterwards!

I told the niece who wrote the above note there was a story connected with that suit, and she asked me to tell it… so here it is.  After the wedding I wore it on special occasions and occasionally in my teaching job.  Then I sent it to the dry cleaners and when I got it back, they had shrunk it!

Of course, I was devastated!  Marion said not to worry.  She was an expert seamstress.  She took that suit apart, lengthened it, and the sleeves.  And she re-stitched the whole lining back in.  When she was finished, it fit perfectly, and if anything was better than ever!

One day some months later, I wore the suit to school.  Coming home, I stopped at Dr. Boothby’s office to see Marion, and I walked right into a big discussion.  One of the patients was a salesman in a good men’s store in Benton Harbor.  He was telling Marion how to pick out quality clothes.  Now this is something that interested me, so I sat in.

The salesman said, “If you want to pick out quality clothes, just look at the lining. If they have taken care with the parts that can’t be seen, now that’s a good piece of clothing!”  And turning to me, he said, “Let me look at your suit coat!”  I took it off and handed it to him.  He examined it carefully, even the lining.  Then he said, “Now there’s a really good suit! Just look at the fine stitching they have done on the lining!”

I looked at Marion and smiled… she smiled back.  Of course!  I had an expert seamstress work on it!

There are so many memories of the people standing there outside of the church as we came out, trapped there forever in a picture.  Days never to come again!  And it makes me think of the one piece of advice I usually try to give people… we must treasure the moments, the people, and the events of our lives.  Nothing can slow down the hands on the clock, but we can all be more aware of the moments as they slip by.  And we can try not to leave any bad karma as we pass.

We can try to leave more good memories… we will live on in the minds of the people who knew us; and in the written records of our existence, including the pictures.  In a sense, some day we will all be forgotten when the people we knew are gone, and the records have turned to dust.  What will be left?  The generations that follow… the ones we have influenced, for good or bad!

That’s what I mean about leaving this world a little better than it was when we came.  Something of us will still be here from the days we were weaving golden threads into the tapestry of our lives in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River.

Watervliet District Library News

In Stitches Knitting Group

Friday, Dec. 8, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.

Sit & sip, chat & knit. Limited supplies are available for beginners, too!

Third Monday Book Club

Monday, Dec. 18, 7 – 8 p.m.

Join in for a great book and fabulous conversations. The December book is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Teen Table Projects: December

Key chain crafts: three styles. Duct tape, yarn, felt & paper. Make ’em and take ’em.

Story Hour

Wed. 10:30 a.m. & Thur. 1:30 p.m.

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


Monday mornings from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.; Wednesday evenings from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.; Chair Yoga on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 – 6:45 p.m.

Coloma Library News

Read with Spirit

Spirit, a certified therapy dog will be at the library on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Children may sign up for a 15-minute slot by stopping in at the front desk or calling the library at 468-3431. Reading to Therapy dogs is a fun way for children to build reading confidence and fluency.

Story Hour

Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Story Hour is for older toddlers and preschool children. Join Miss Amy for a story, simple craft and song-time. Story Hour is a free program, sign-up is not required.

Book Club

The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, Dec. 14 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “A Redbird Christmas” by Fannie Flagg.  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.


100 years ago – 1917

 Death’s toll is heavy among old settlers. Those passing onto their heavenly reward: Dr. William A. Baker, Elkanah Carter, Gerald Handy, Hiram Gage, Luther T. Moore, Mrs. Isabelle Wees,  Herman Heier, and George Miltabarger.

Mrs. C.E. Coburn and Miss Belle Carter entertained the Ladies Social Union of the Congregational Church. The hostesses served a delightful lunch.

Auction Sale: The Lawrence Koob farm, one mile south of Coloma. 3 head of horses; one fresh cow; 2 hogs; 30 chickens; grain and feed; tools and implements. John Carmody, Auctioneer.

60 years ago – 1957

 Cloverleaf Club celebrates 60 years. The purpose of this club is to provide social and cultural advantages for ladies. Mrs. Roger Carter is the current acting president.

Basketball fans, parents and alumni may inspect the new gymnasium during the formal dedication. Scheduled games include Decatur Raiders and St. Joseph Ponies.

Federal aid is expected for the signal lights and bells at Bunker’s C&O railroad crossing one mile west of Coloma. An inspection indicated 1,221 used the crossing in September.

30 years ago – 1987

 Millard Brower was given a surprise 80th birthday party. He is a retiree of the Watervliet Paper Company.

The township board has tabled: The Paw Paw Lake-River Ventures Inc. would like sponsorship of their annual Winterfest and The Paw Paw Lake Rotary Club requests support with the Randall Park skating rink.

Local arrests were made in a county-wide drug net. Drug trafficking was being investigated.

Victoria DeFields, with the Bridgman Public Schools is the recipient of the 1987 MAME School Library/Media Program of the Year. She has been employed at Bridgman since 1978.

Coloma hosted the Panthers in their season opener in the Comet gym. Coach Al Stampfly attributed the many fouls to inexperience. The Comets lost 54-38.


100 years ago – 1917

 Hartford is asked to furnish three men at once for the United States Navy, according to a telegram received by Village President Walker from the Navy recruiting station at Detroit. President Walker will be pleased to hear from any Hartford young men who are contemplating enlistment in the Navy in order to fill Hartford’s quota.

Hartford’s new motor fire truck has stalled three times of late. A slipping clutch has been blamed for all of the trouble. A mechanic from the factory was summoned to put the clutch in proper condition, and the truck is now believed to be ready for any emergency.

75 years ago – 1942

 Ninety-seven Christmas packages were sent to boys from Hartford in service in the United States. Funds were established through the scrap drive and cash donations to the perpetual service men’s fund, of which Milton Weed is treasurer.

Recently added to the collection of books at the Hartford Public Library is the “Autobiography of a Clown” as told to Issac F. Marcossen by Jules Turnour. The book was presented to the library by Mrs. Elnora Chamberlin. The book was purchased by the late Rex Chamberlin while he was in France during the last World War and was sent to his parents in Hartford with this message: “Somewhere in France, 1918, I was at the library today after some French books and ran across this book of Jules Turnour. I wheedled the librarian into letting me have the book for a copy of ‘Over There.’” The Turnour family lived in Hartford for many years.

50 years ago – 1967

 What appears to be a UFO was sighted in the sky near here early Friday by Mr. and Mrs. James Weideman, who live north of Hartford on CR 687. After watching the object for 45 minutes, they called a Day Spring photographer. Weideman said the bright object rose from treetop level to the normal position of a star in the sky in about 20 minutes. It did not twinkle like a star, was brighter than one and seemed much nearer.

State police of the Paw Paw post were called to the scene and observed the object with binoculars, but discounted its being an unidentified flying object and ventured the opinion that it was a star.


90 years ago – 1927

 Never have the streets of our little city presented a more beautiful appearance than at the present time when every store display window is attractively decorated thus calling the attention of the many shoppers who are hurrying to and fro on their happy errands. A very beautiful tree, brilliantly lighted adorns a corner of one of the main streets. The boulevard lights are also doing their best in their fancy red and green gowns to give a gala appearance to Main Street. Yuletide spirit prevails everywhere.

Today, Dec. 23, 1927, Tom Johns of this city is quietly observing the 91st anniversary of his birth at the home of his son, E.C. Johns. Mr. Johns is fortunate in the possession of all his faculties, including good health.

Mayor Brown says that on two successive nights some automobile driver has run into the Municipal Christmas tree on Main Street, breaking some of the electric bulbs with which it is lighted. He declares that if the officers can find the “bird” that is doing this he will get all that is coming to him and then some. Motorists are therefore warned to give the Christmas tree a wide berth.

60 years ago – 1957

 Miss Pat Keller, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Keller, has been chosen Michigan Apple Queen at the Michigan State Horticulture Society Convention. Miss Keller, 17, is a senior at WHS.

Mr. and Mrs. Chester Rogalski are the proud parents of their baby girl, Rita Marie, born Dec. 12, 1957 and weighed 4 pounds, 14 ounces.

Mr. Francis Case was the recipient of a fine box of Christmas cookies and Mrs. Francis Case, a pair of beautifully hand-decorated candles.

30 years ago – 1987

 On Tuesday, Nov. 17, 1987, the WHS Women’s Chorale went to Elkhart to tape three songs for an upcoming Christmas special to be aired on Channel 34. The program is scheduled for Dec. 24, 1987. The Women’s Chorale is under the direction of Mr. Randall Carrier and is accompanied by Vicki Burlingham.

Amy L. Richmond, a resident of Watervliet was awarded a $500 Honors Scholarship and a $1,000 Vander Weele Scholarship by Calvin College in Grand Rapids. Richmond is a senior at Calvin.

Jacob Wallace is the Watervliet Public Schools “Student of the Week.” He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wallace. Jacob is a friend to all his classmates and knows how to share and help others.


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