12-08-2016 Tri-City Area History Page

Paw Paw River Journal

Paw Paw River Journal

First Snowfall

Today I am writing this in a golden world.  I look out of the window in front of my desk and all the trees are shedding their leaves. I have said this is my favorite time of year.  But there is another season coming, when the world will be sleeping under a mantle of white.  And that has its own beauty.  Guess this is the time to write about it, because in February and March winter will be old, and we will all be anxiously awaiting the greenery of spring!

Late autumn has frosty nights.  Just step outside… quietness, a feeling that something is coming.  Yes, it is snow and cold.  The street in front of our house is silent, shrubs around the houses are drooping… just waiting for the stylishness of a new white coat for the season.  And when it comes the world will be even quieter.  Something about the snow muffles sounds.

Our squirrel and bird feeders are unusually busy, almost as if they know they should store up fat for the coming cold.  The finches hide under our hedges, waiting out the cold nights.  Someone told me that their little feet have opposing claws, so as they grip a branch, if they go to sleep, the little claws will just grip more tightly.  And they fight for perches on the feeders… “No!  Get out!  This is my spot!”

On the end of our barn Son Rob has put up a corn feeder, so designed that as our furry friends empty the tray, more corn comes down out of the box.  Sometimes a squirrel gets inside the thing and just kicks out with all his might.  One day he caught a red squirrel doing that.  Now red squirrels are the bad boys of our population.  They are so nervous, jumping around, gnawing holes in the barn, and generally causing havoc.  Other animals do not like them either!

One day there was one inside the box, just kicking corn out in all directions.  Our son took a stick and beat loudly on the feeder.  This alarmed Mr. Squirrel so much he raced around inside and finally made his escape, jumping for the nearest evergreen.  He was so wrought up he did not come back for a while, which all the other denizens seemed to appreciate!

The fox squirrels are fluffed out against the cold.  They find a nut treasure and perch in the crotch of a nearby tree, tail spread up over their back for protection from the wind.  One day a neighbor stopped to talk with our son.  He had been out gathering walnuts and had his car trunk full of them.  As they talked, a fox squirrel casually strolled out, sniffed the car all over, and looked very hard to find a way into that trunk.  No luck, but it shows how sensitive they are to the nearby presence of squirrel treasures!

Soon icy winds will be howling about the eaves and icicles hanging by the garden wall.  That is when we most appreciate our warm kitchen, coffee maker bubbling away, and we are hoping for cozy warmth for all creatures, including us and our friends!

As the year winds down, what have we been thinking of?  Well, all the times we got together with family and friends.  Some are especially stored in our memories.   A luncheon at Arlene Ward’s home… the occasion was a visit with some people with Hartford connections.  The Galbreath family lived just up the street from us when we were kids.  Bill and I were friends for years.  There were seven of them, five of whom saw service in WWII.

Jim, Dick, Bob, Marybell, and Bill all went through those perilous times and returned unscathed.  The youngest, Peggy, was not in service.

The oldest, Betty, has a daughter.  And she is the one who came to Arlene’s luncheon.  Glenda and husband, Tom Buchanan, live in the Washington, D.C. area.  They have both served our government, and Tom still works part-time.

They came to Hartford looking for information on their family members.  Thus Arlene asked Marion and me to be part of the group, also Deacon Art Morsaw of the local Pottawatomi Native American tribe, and Bob Latus.  It was a marvelous gathering, and Arlene is a skilled hostess.  Deacon Art is a fountain of information on Hartford history, and Bob Latus has the most extensive data base on local cemeteries that I have seen.  We talked and talked over the delicious food, and next day they went with Bob to find their relatives in the local cemeteries.

We have been celebrating birthdays and anniversaries all year long, and the most recent was Son Rob’s.  We all gathered around the Chief Accountant’s harvest table and had a pizza party.  That was at his request and the huge boxes of Gala T Inn pizza rolled in right on time.  Needless to say, we all committed a dietary felony that day!

And we are looking forward to more!  Thanksgiving is just past and I put on my best face and watched the huge golden bird being carved.  It was most enjoyable!  And now we are looking forward to Christmas!  Oh, the Holiday season is fast approaching.  We will do our best to sample all the goodies!  Then we must consider another year and what we are going to do to make it better than the last one.  But meanwhile we will just hope to weave more golden threads into the tapestry of our lives in this story book town along the Paw Paw River!

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.

Stop by the North Berrien Historical Museum and check out the library’s contribution to the annual Holiday Tree display. The Cat-in-the-Hat has done some decorating on our behalf, with creative help from library staff members Kati, Kanyon and Sharon.  And, while there, discover something new from the area’s past.

Friday, Dec. 9, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m., In Stitches, Knitting Group: Who wants to sit and knit all by themselves? Bring your latest project to the library’s community room for an always entertaining “group knit-together” on the second Friday of every month. Limited supplies are available for beginners, too!

Friday, Dec. 9, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m., Parents’ Night Out: Need an evening without the kids? Parents’ Night Out gives parents the opportunity to take a well-deserved break. Go out for a night on the town feeling confident that your little ones are safe and having the time of their lives. This incredible evening for children will be filled with a variety of fun games, crafts and activities. Space is limited. Snack donations are appreciated. Registration is required.

Toddler Time is a 30 minute class every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.

Story Hour is on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. and on Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. for children age three to five. It is fun and educational with 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.

Monday, Dec. 26, 2016 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., Adult Coloring Class! Class meets on the last Monday of each month.

Words of Wisdom Book Club will meet on the third Monday of every month, beginning January 16, 2017. Read something great – or something awful! – And cannot wait to talk about it: Here is your chance! At the first meeting bring something you are dying to share. Together the club members will come up with February’s riveting title. Registration is required; sign up by giving the library a call at 463-6382 or stopping by.

Coloma Library News

Holiday Hours

 The library will be closed on Saturday, December 24, Sunday, December 25 and Monday, December 26. Regular hours will resume, Tuesday, December 27. Happy Holidays!

Story Hour

Story Hour meets Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. at the library. Story Hour is for children ages 3 and up. It is asked that all children be accompanied and supervised by an adult. There is no sign-up or fee required. Call 468-3431 with any questions. Story Hour will take a break for the winter after the December 21 session and will resume in the spring. Do not miss out on the last two before the break!



100 years ago – 1916

 An automobile accident occurred in which Mrs. A.H. DeField was badly bruised. The car toppled into a ditch. As the top of the car was up, passengers could not jump out. Dr. W. T. Bertrand dressed the wounds and the lady is back at the Wonder store attending to business.

One of the darkest clouds has passed over the community in the death of Allen Summerrill, 19, son of Mrs. Katie Kniebes. He had been ill of typhoid and scarlet fever. The funeral service was held from the home.

In an emergency order, Mrs. Wilhelmina Cole was admitted to the State Hospital for the insane in Kalamazoo. She became mentally unbalanced after the birth of a child.

60 years ago – 1956

 Following very lively discussion, commissioners voted to give the children access to Kretner’s hill when sledding conditions are favorable.

Coloma Comets will host Hartford Indians in a basketball game.

Engineer Ralph Petrie will be Coloma’s agent in matters concerning the sewage disposal plant.

Coloma’s Chamber of Commerce voted to “dispense with the monthly meetings.” Curtis Coats, James Barricklow, Joe E. Wells and Walter Reinhardt Jr. each spoke about the future of the membership.

30 years ago – 1986

 City Commissioners OK development plan. Training will be through Lake Michigan College.

School Board members voted to withhold payment to Sir Roofing until work is substantially completed.

WE ASKED YOU… what are your holiday traditions? Nina Tavolacci cooks pizzas for the family at the old homestead. Don Fryling enjoys family gatherings and Santa delivering gifts under the tree.

You are invited to our Christmas Open House: Hometown Flowers & Furniture – New Christmas items.

Coloma’s Sesquicentennial Committee presented Mayor Glenn Randall with a book of Coloma history. It is requested to place the book in the Coloma Library.


100 years ago – 1916

 Yesterday was “a day of good will” at the Hartford Woman’s Club. The members equipped with thimbles and lunch boxes arrived; useful serving was the chief order of the day. Work was suspended long enough at noon to permit all enjoying lunch, supplemented with hot coffee and to hold a short business meeting.

Mr. and Mrs. Harry Stowe have moved from the S. Stowe farm north of town to the Mrs. L. Conaway house on Hilliard Street. Truman Righter had the thumb of his right hand badly crushed yesterday while attempting to start a gasoline engine.

75 years ago – 1941

 The Hartford Philharmonic Club is meeting Wednesday evening, with Mrs. Edith Davis. The “Story of the Messiah” will be given by Mrs. Zora Lammon with Christmas as the theme of the program. Following the presentation by Mrs. Lammon, the club members will join in group singing of familiar Christmas carols under the direction of Mrs. Ruth Dowd.