Olive Lynda Grady in May 1937 attired in her bud princess dress complete with sash, cape and crown. Were you ever a participant in a similar competition? If so, please contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330, email@example.com, or stop by Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. they would love to hear your stories. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma
The Paw Paw River Journal
Echoes from Crystal Palace
Every time I write about Crystal Palace and those iconic days I get responses. That time and place must be engraved on most people’s minds in letters of gold… that is, if they are old enough to remember. Many people are of that era – from 1925 when Frank Dlouhy built it to 1963 when it burned while being renovated under new ownership. It was a place where people laughed, cried, formed new relationships, and ended old ones… all the while listening and dancing to the greatest music in the world. It was the Big Band era! I am from that time and I still have those songs and bands in my head. And I truly believe there will never be another time when so many people will be tuned in to the same kind of music! Just recently I received a most interesting letter. It was from Donavie Kittell Sipla, who lives in the Coloma area. We’ve never met, but I feel as though I should know her. She and husband Andy were good friends of Howard and Dolores Bishop. Howard was my brother-in-law, married to my Chief Accountant’s sister. We had many good times together also. Andy and Howard were lifelong friends, having gone through school together. Donavie wrote in her letter, “When I was a little girl my dad, mom and I would take a ride out to Paw Paw Lake on Saturday night. We parked outside of Crystal Palace and listened to the music through the open windows. We also would go inside sometimes. There was no admission cost, but if you wanted to go on the dance floor you had to buy a dance ticket. “My dad would set me up on the railing that was around the dance floor and we watched the dancers. The girls and ladies all wore long dresses back then, and I loved watching them dance over the square colored lights that were in the floor. “I dreamed about when I grew up and could go to Crystal. I would have a long red dress and dance over those colored lights. When I was old enough to go to Crystal the styles had changed. The young girls wore sloppy Joe sweaters, pleated skirts and saddle shoes. Older girls and ladies wore regular length dresses and skirts. “Dlouhys were great people. Frank must have loved good music, because he sure made it possible for hundreds and hundreds of people to enjoy wonderful music. Even before the big band era there was always a good band playing on Saturday night with good singers. After the big bands started, there was always a good band in between. Frank’s wife, Bessie, was a great lady and Ray, Eleanor, and Viola made up the family. “My Andy and Ray were buddies from way back in grade school in the old Washington school. They even found each other when they were in the service over in England during World War II. “…You mentioned Steve’s Skating Rink, another great place! My girlfriends and I would skate every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday night. Steve and Helen Bearty were more great people. The skating rink was built right on the side of their house, and Helen would flag us down once in a while to come in for a treat, see the babies, and visit.” Thanks, Donavie, for those memories. Many of us have similar ones and we treasure them. One of the last times I was at Crystal Palace Marion was not with me. Wintertime, she was out of nurses’ training and working, and her folks were in Florida. They asked her and sister Dolores if they could come down and visit for a week or two. Yes, they could! I was working and no time off. I did take the two girls to Chicago and put them on the plane at Midway Airport. O’Hare was not open yet. A couple of weeks with no social engagements, so what to do? A bunch of us guys decided to go to Crystal Palace on Saturday night. Not to pick up any girls, but to enjoy the music and the fun anyway. I drove, and with me were several friends. While there I met Howard Bishop, who was dating Dolores. So with her being gone also, he was rattling around loose. We sat and talked and enjoyed watching the dancers. When we gathered to head for home, we got a surprise! It was snowing furiously… could hardly see for 20 feet! We had to navigate through that to get back to Hartford. How did we do it? I stuck my head out the driver’s window to watch for the white line. George Vint stuck his head out the right passenger’s window to watch for the edge of the road. We never saw another car on the way home, although there must’ve been some. The rest of the passengers were giving us various comments about bad driving all the way. But we made it! We got everybody delivered safely except Bill Galbreath and Bernarde Thomas. By the time we got to Bernarde’s house, we had driven about as far as we could. So we stayed all night with him! His mom never complained about our frying some eggs for a midnight snack! And in the morning no more snow and I headed for home so my folks would not be worried. Bill and I went to church. Sunday morning! Marion and I were sending notes back and forth, so I had some news to tell her! I believe that was the last time I was in Crystal Palace. When Marion got back we were too busy and making plans for our wedding. Although the nights at Crystal faded into the past, we never forgot the times we had there. We now had other golden threads to weave into the Great Tapestry of Life as we prepared for our future together in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River.
Watervliet District Library News Computer upgrade
The Watervliet District Library has received a $7,000 Frederick S. Upton Foundation matching grant to purchase badly needed new public computers. Help them meet their goal with new donations, and have fun at the same time! Library Murder Mystery “Ugly Sweaters are Murder” on Thursday, Dec 12 at 6 p.m. Another murderer stalks the library; who will be the victim of the guilty party? Sign up required, participation is limited to 25 guests. Baked potato bar included! In Stitches Knitting Group Friday, Dec. 13, 2:30 – 4 p.m. Take a current project or your interest; they’ll help you get started! Arm knitting supplies & 1-on-1 instructions, too! Third Monday Book Club Dec. 16, 7 – 8 p.m. Great books, fabulous conversations! Ask for a copy at the desk. This month is “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John-Mandel. Family Movie Night Friday, Dec. 20, 6 p.m. The third Friday evening each month this winter means: Movies! Popcorn! Crafts! This month is “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Teen Table Projects December – Holiday Rocks: All the stuff teens need to make and take a festive rock of their own! STEM Kit Programs Snap Circuits – LEGO Robotics – Little Bits Electronic Inventions STEM kit programs designed for small groups to work together to make an endless number of inventions. New groups are set up with participant’s schedule in mind. Anyone 8 years and up that is interested can sign up at the desk.
Coloma Public Library News Christmas Holiday Hours
The Coloma Public Library will be open normal hours in December with the following exceptions: closed Tuesday Dec. 24, Wednesday Dec. 25, and Tuesday Dec. 31. Playaway Launchpads Library patrons can try the fun new educational tablets in the children’s area. Children will recognize their favorite characters such as Strawberry Shortcake and Arthur. Each tablet is unique and comes loaded with a variety of topics. Local Author Visit Meet local inspirational author, Rebekah Williams. She will sign copies of her books as well as share tips on how to care for Christmas poinsettia plants. Williams will be at the Coloma Public Library on Saturday, Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. until noon. December Story Times Miss Alicia will host Story Times on Tuesdays in December. Story Times will be at 10:30 a.m. There will be no Story Times on December 24 or 31. Registration is not required to participate. Book Club The library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, Dec. 19 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “The Story of Arthur Truluv” by Elizabeth Berg. New members are always welcome!
NEWS FROM THE COLOMA COURIER
100 years ago – 1919 Include this verse when sending a Christmas gift to a smoker. “When clouds of smoke around you float… Don’t let our friendship ‘end in smoke.’” Christmas Headquarters – come to Scott’s Pharmacy, The Rexall Store. We have gifts for baby, sister, brother, mother, and father. A farewell party was given for Mrs. N. Fletcher. Mrs. Boyle, a daughter of Mrs. L. DeFields, gave a talk on native living in the Congo region of Africa. The evening passed merrily with social chat and Victrola music. 60 years ago – 1959 The Coloma Comets are out to gain their second straight Little Eight victory as they entertain Benton Harbor St. Johns. Ten Girl Scouts participated in a candlelight Investiture ceremony held at the First Methodist church. Pins and badges were earned by the girls. Some participants were Dona Selvidge, Judy Carter, Darlene King, Patty Quigley, and Carla Benson. The Faith Evangelical Lutheran and the First Congregational churches are rehearsing for their respective Choral Christmas programs. The Needlecraft Guild will meet at the home of Mrs. James Kibler. Mr. Ben Rosenburg will share his summer trip to Israel. 30 years ago – 1989 Allen W. Baker Jr., President of the State Bank of Coloma announces the appointment of David M. Morrissett as Senior Vice President. Residents with homes on Paw Paw Lake complained at the township meeting about the erection of unattractive fences by neighboring residents. The group would like an ordinance on this issue. Michael R. Timm has been promoted in the U.S. Air Force to the rank of senior airman. Timm is an avionics test station and component specialist. Queen contest rehearsal will be this Saturday. The Coloma Elementary Christmas Program will be Thursday evening. Both events will be held in the H.S. Auditorium. 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
NEWS FROM THE HARTFORD DAY SPRING
100 years ago – 1919 Professor Herbert Hobbs, head of the department of geology at University of Michigan was in Hartford and also visited other towns in this section of the county in an effort to trace the meteor which created an acute atmospheric disturbance over southern Michigan on the evening of November 26 and is believed to have fallen to earth in this immediate vicinity. The subject for discussion at the Hartford Woman’s Club was “Reconstruction in Russia”. Mrs. Clara Cleworth read a splendid paper on the subject. An excellent talk was given by Mrs. Minnie Fox on “My Impressions of Madame Breshkovsky”. 75 years ago – 1944 The new P and Z Supply store, located in the Chamberlin building, is open for business. John Paulus, co-owner and manager, said that formal opening would be postponed although sales of merchandise are now being made. Christmas gift items are advertised in the Day Spring. The store is owned by Mr. Paulus and Fred Zook. Merchandise will consist of general hardware, home and auto supplies with Firestone products featured. The Hartford school Christmas program will include students from the fourth, fifth and sixth grades, and the junior and senior high school music students, under the direction of Miss Lorraine Hole. The Hartford Art Study class was entertained at the home of Mrs. Elnora Chamberlin. Mrs. Minnie Fox read a paper on “Dolls” prepared by Mrs. Alice Bennett, who was absent. 50 years ago – 1969 An electric board showing names of basketball players on home and visiting teams will be installed in the Hartford High School gymnasium as a memorial to Sp-4 Ronald Vliek, who was killed in action in Vietnam while serving with the 1st cavalry division. The board will record fouls charged to each player and will show a green light by the name of each player on the floor. Victor Beck, in charge of the memorial fund begun after Vliek’s death, said that the fund has passed the $700 mark. The new board is expected to be in use after the holidays, according to Beck. Sp-4 Vliek was a 1967 graduate of Hartford high school, where he was a sports star. 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
NEWS FROM THE WATERVLIET RECORD
90 years ago – 1929 The first municipal Christmas tree the city of Watervliet erected was in December 1924. In 1929 it was again at the usual location on Main Street. It presented a beautiful appearance at night. A brief Christmas service was held at the tree. Barney Dwiggins officiated as master of ceremonies and led in community singing of Christmas carols. The Watervliet Paper Company played Santa Claus in a very substantial manner to its stockholders and employees. To the former the company paid a special Christmas dividend of one-half of one per cent on the stock and to each one of its 425 employees it presented a gift check the Saturday before Christmas. Tom Johns of this city will observe his 93rd birthday anniversary on Dec. 22, 1929. Mr. Johns is Watervliet’s oldest citizen by several years and he continues to enjoy good health and the possession of his mental faculties to a remarkable degree. 60 years ago – 1959 Watervliet residents, as well as those of other nearby communities, will be pleased to know the Watervliet Boston Store will remain, for the time being at least, as it is. Mrs. Moody, who purchased said store in Dec. 1959, has announced that there will be no change in personnel for the present. Miss Glynda C. Sanders, Watervliet, recently became a pledge of the Gamma Pi chapter of Delta Zeta, social sorority at Western Michigan University. Printed in Dec. 1959: In early Michigan days, a squaw near Newaygo started a still favorite local winter sport by using her dishpan as a sled, at once far outdistancing the Braves using boards in a race. That sport today is called dishpanning. 30 years ago – 1989 Theresa Duncan, Watervliet, was named first runner-up in the Miss Junior Teen Photogenic Contest in Grand Rapids. This qualifies Theresa to go to the nationals in Orlando, FL. She will compete in the beauty pageant for teens. Our Watervliet “Student of the Week”, Tina Green is an eleventh-grader. Tina starts her first year on the WHS volleyball team. She also is active in Mrs. Strother’s Art Club and especially enjoys glass etching. Printed Dec. 20, 1989: What the spirit of Christmas is depends on what you do to celebrate the holiday. Amidst the magic of the music and lights of Christmas, each who celebrates the holiday, whether through age-old traditions or new ones, celebrates its spirit—whether it be the spirit of family, the spirit of giving, or the spirit of childhood. By Teresa LaPlante. 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