12-22-2016 Tri-City Area History Page

Paw Paw River Journal

Christ’s birthday

 That wonderful holiday has rolled around again!  There is something so special about this time of year.  And it transcends mere sectarian beliefs.  Christmas is a time for everyone!  Guess I’m saying this because I want everyone to share in the joy!  It is not just for Christians… it’s for everyone!  Admittedly it started with the birth of the Babe in a manger in Bethlehem, and was the beginning of a religion that spread over the whole Western World.

That was over two thousand years ago, and in the intervening time it has become so much more!  Now the Holiday is, in my mind, one of our most important, and is for everyone.  Ben Stein, famous writer and philosopher, is also very Jewish.  I heard him say on a TV program, that they celebrate Christmas at their house anyway.  The idea of Christmas has gotten bigger than any sectarian belief.  Hooray for Ben Stein!

In my mind it is all about family.  And it began in a cattle shed in the little town of Bethlehem in the Middle East.  There a baby was born to a couple who had come to take part in the census.  The town was so full there were no hotels or inns with any room.  What an inauspicious beginning for a man who would shake the very foundations of the world clear down through time.  Whether we are Christian or not, we have to admit that it has become a pretty big deal!

But that’s not what I want to talk about.  It’s the family!  There is the beginning unit… it still holds today.  We are part of a world community, and have recently been governed by a president who (in my mind) believes it is more important than anything else.  His theory is evidently that we are not exceptional… and the whole world deserves to have what we have.

Noble thought!  Only trouble is that as the world advances we regress.  And I can’t really solve that problem in my mind.  We have been reared in the very fiber of our beings to believe that WE ARE EXCEPTIONAL!  And enough people have believed that to change the course of our political future.

So the family!  This Holiday brings us back to that.  We get together with family.  We have dinners.  We exchange gifts.  And there is every reason in the world to share that with as many people as we can.  And that makes us part of the world community.  We have a responsibility to help others.

Within that world community is the country that we inhabit.  We made it from nothing.  It is the envy of the world.  Everyone would like to be here… and some would change it so it would not be like it is now.  Yes, it would be less!  We voted recently not to do that.  So we will try to preserve the freedoms that we fought so hard for.  Admittedly my part was small compared to the sacrifices some made.  But we all did what we could, and will not give it up now!

Within this country we are a family of states.  And we sometimes pull and tug against each other and the central government that holds us together.  Right now there is a fight brewing about whether states can protect illegal aliens even if they are criminals.  Stick around, Folks, to see what happens.

Within our states we have counties, and within them we have cities and towns… and countryside.  And more strife and contention… who shall have the last word?  So we are getting down to the basic unit… the family!  That brings us back to my beginning.  I think the family is most important.

It didn’t just start with that family in Bethlehem… family has been the basic unit ever since there were people on this earth.  But that birth made it all important.  They were an example for us all.  If we have no family we are greatly diminished.  And that has been happening, especially in our big cities.  I’m not going into the statistics… you have all seen them. But there it is.  Families have broken down.  Who passes on the traditions of kindness, generosity, and the belief that we have to work for what we want to get!

How can we get back to the idea of kindness, helping each other, and living in harmony?  There it is, right in front of us!  People came to see that baby in the manger, knowing there was something special about him.  But they never realized what an impact he would have on the world.  And how the idea of the family and all it means would be diminished in our modern time.  Some shepherd perhaps put his finger in the crib, the baby grasped it and looked into the shepherd’s eyes… and he went away a better man.

Can’t we all think about this Holiday, get together with family and do the same?  Heal some old wounds.  Get together with a friend we have neglected.  Make up our minds to have a better world as we weave more golden threads into the tapestry of our lives in our family, our story book towns, our state, our country, our world, and on and on even into Infinity… the mind of God?

Office personnel and group from the sorting room at the Watervliet Paper Mill. North Berrien Historical Museum is always interested in your photos, stories and sharing of information. Contact us at 269-468-3330 or email to northberrienhistory.org. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Ave., Coloma, MI

Watervliet District Library News

 The library will be closed for the holidays on Saturday, December 24 and Saturday, December 31.

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 the 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 with creative help from library staff members Kati, Kanyon and Sharon.  And while there, discover something new from the area’s past.

Teens Table during December 2016 is “make it and take it” or “take it and make it” friendship bracelets; all supplies and instructions included in one neat little package, Happy Holidays & help yourself!

Yoga is at 9:00 a.m. every Monday morning, and Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m.

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 will come up with February’s riveting title.  Registration is required; sign up by giving the library a call at 269-463-6382 or stopping by.

In Stitches, knitting group, meets on the second Friday of every month from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.  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”.  Limited supplies are available for beginners, too!

Adult coloring class is held on the last Monday of every month from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Coloma Library News

 The library will be closed on Saturday, December 24, Sunday, December 25 and Monday, December 26. Regular hours will resume, Tuesday, December 27th. The library will also close on Saturday, December 31st, Sunday, January 1 and Monday January 2nd. Regular hours will resume on Tuesday, January 3. Happy Holidays!


100 years ago – 1916

  The marriage of Miss Eva Irene Musick and John J. Brunner, employee of The Coloma Courier, was solemnized. A seven course wedding dinner was served and a fine wedding cake was passed.

You are cordially invited to a New Year’s dance at Bunker’s opera house; music by the Silver Beach orchestra – admission 75 cents.

60 years ago – 1956

 The Coloma township hall board met to discuss the merits of the primary system of nominating township officials. A petition will circulate.

The Comets broke a basketball losing streak when they defeated the Hartford Indians, 70-61.

The Loma Theatre will close for the winter tomorrow evening. Attendance has dwindled due to TV and the popularity of bowling in the winter.

Masons install officers: Glenn Yund, William Duering, Harold Bachman, Jacob Stoltz, John Miller Jr., Ray Dornbos and Gordon Bell.

Merry Christmas from: Tony’s Shoe Repair, Bus Station, Jaffke’s Dept. Store, Coloma Motor Sales, Coloma Grill, Economy Food Shop.

30 years ago – 1986

 Coloma High School Student Council sponsored its annual food and funds drive for the needy for Christmas. $700 was raised and 400 cans of food were collected.

Abonmarche Consultants Inc. opened its doors to high school students. Todd Cubbage joined this career exploration group.

Mrs. Dings’ second-grade class at Washington Elementary drew pictures of their three wishes for Christmas.

We remember those that have passed: John F. Wagner, William Greer and Elaine Foster.

Coloma’s wrestling team is 1-2 in the Lakeland Conference. Coach Dick Becht feels they “got off to a slow start” but are making progress. Chris Rush, Rob DeLaTorre, Tim Ishmael and Aaron Slaughter are giving their best.


100 years ago – 1916

 Lester Henderson has purchased the Mrs. Effie Kipp farm of 80 acres in the southwest part of the township, now occupied by John Miller, and will take possession in April. The sale was made by the O.M. Smith real estate agency.

Excellent sleighing has contributed to the activity of the holiday shopping in Hartford this week. The merchants generally report an active holiday trade, while the snug winter weather has stimulated the buying of winter necessities.

A dancing party will be given at the town hall next Monday evening, Christmas night, with music by the Silver Beach orchestra of St. Joseph.

75 years ago – 1941

 There is at least one business name in Hartford that attracts interest, it is “Ward’s File Farm.” Fred Ward moved his file sharpening plant from Chicago to Hartford last May. From cities throughout the United States are sent dull, rusty lead-filled files to be cleaned, sharpened and returned to their owners. They are shipped by the thousands from Ward agents located in nearly every large city, and in dozen lots from individual companies.

The file goes to the sharpening machine where it is treated with steam, varying from 120 pounds to 140 pounds in pressure, which through automatic valves is mixed with abrasives including ground glass. By maneuvering the file over this steam an effect similar to that of honing a razor is obtained. The testing block is next. Here the cutting quality of each file is tested on a bronze block the files are then washed and cleaned in an oil solution and are treated with a rust preventative, after which they are ready for shipping.

50 years ago – 1966

 Wendell Martin, principal of Hartford High School, has announced that registration for adult education classes will be held. Interested persons may call the school and leave their name, address and phone for courses. Scheduled to date are women’s physical education, men’s physical education, general shop, typing and modern math.


90 years ago – 1927

 Printed on Jan. 7, 1927 – The Volstead Law – To obey or to disobey that is the question. Human society is a complicated fabric, of which the legal aspect is not the least important. Man can no more live in security without law than can a fish without water. Every citizen by virtue of the elective franchise has a voice in the enactment of every law. And as the majority rule, either by direct or representative vote, it becomes the sacred representative vote; it becomes the sacred duty of every individual to work assiduously for law enforcement. The law may not exactly suit my neighbor or myself, still we are bounden by the rights of citizenship to seek for obedience to the law until it is replaced by another. Simple duty, simple loyalty required this attitude, else we are unworthy the name of citizen. Now, some continue to practice evasive schemes but the strong arm of the law sooner or later seizes them to their sorrow. Such person are sowing the seeds of anarchy (no law) and they reap the whirlwind! The law with its sanctions applies the brakes. Other still grow restive and impatient at what they regard as the slow and inefficient enforcement of the law and would like to take the hatchet into their own hands. There in again lie the seeds of anarchy as on the opposite of the question. For such persons would violate one law to enforce another; a thing which cannot exist in true citizenship. Truth in the end will prevail. The legend on our coins is a good one, “In God we trust.”

Written by – James Hizer

60 years ago – 1956

 Martin Callendar, M.M.F.A., U.S. Navy, was fortunate to come for a surprise holiday visit with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Callendar.

Pvt. Brian L. Hentschel, stationed at Fort Bliss, TX, arrived for a fourteen day leave with his family.

30 years ago – 1986

 Watervliet athletes were busy with a fundraising program. The first annual Watervliet Lift-A-Thon resulted. John Epple won the seven-event competition. Lou Brule proved himself strongest with victories in three lifting categories. Chuck Frazier, Dave Coon, Scott Yore and Daryl Tackett all added outstanding performances.


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