12-17-2020 History

Glimpses from the Past

An unidentified baby sits on Santa Claus’ lap at a Watervliet Paper Company Employee Christmas Party sometime in the 1960s. Do you remember sitting on Santa’s lap? Can you identify the child on Santa’s lap? Do you remember taking your children as infants to sit on Santa’s lap? If you have any information about the photo, please contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330 or info@northberrienhistory.org. North Berrien Historical Museum is open for private tours, Tuesday through Friday 10-4. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

The Paw Paw River Journal

February 27, 1985

One dim, long gone summer morning of the past stands out in my mind. We lived at the greenhouses on Linden Street. I came out of the front door, early in the morning, and looked up toward the corner. Rows of hollyhocks nodded their heads along the sidewalk and a morning dove was calling. In the whole universe, it was calling no one except me and my heart was full. I must have been three.

Our parents’ business was conducted all around us as kids, and we did not think it strange. Customers came and went, and at times when my folks were not home, some desperate man might plead with one of us kids to make a bouquet, or a floral arrangement, for a hurried party, date, or funeral. When we were old enough to be left at home alone, occasionally Wilma and I did that. We would have to our credit some passable bouquets and flower arrangements, made for a customer who just couldn’t wait until our folks got back.

We also took orders for funeral pieces and my father was known for the quality and reasonable prices for his work. Sometimes my folks would be so busy at the passing of some local dignitary they would work most of the night. Wilma took care of the house then, and after I was old enough to drive, I took care of the deliveries.

At an early age I went everywhere with my dad and helped him deliver flowers. When I was very young we were at the Zuver and Calvin Funeral Home. I saw a body for the first time in the back room and I must have been impressed, for I remember it vividly. He was an older man and they were dressing him for viewing. I remember thinking how old and gray he looks lying there. His hair and even his features are gray.

The next day I was out in the greenhouse, playing funeral with a dead beetle. He was to be buried in a match box and I had him surrounded by floral pieces. When Mr. Calvin came in on some business, I could hear them chuckling in the office and I knew they were talking about me. My father had a quiet sense of humor. When something tickled him, he would laugh within and his shoulders would shake a little. Thus he was when he examined my funeral preparations and told Mr. Calvin about it.

My father had a fierce sense of loyalty to the local merchants and I can remember how puzzled I was that he always bought gas at every station in town one after the other. He believed in trading locally. After all, those same people gave us our living. Once when he bought a new washing machine for my mother, we all gathered around in the kitchen. No more tubs and scrub board. This automatic wonder was delivered by a truck that said Montgomery Ward on the side. I stood there and looked it all over and finally said, “What kind of a machine is it. I can’t see any name on it.” My dad pointed to a word printed at the top of the tub on the outside of it. There was printed “Waterline”. He was chuckling as he told me, “See, it’s a WATERLINE.” So, as a kid, I thought we had a Waterline washing machine.


100 years ago – 1920