Tri-City Area History Page

Paw Paw River Journal

The day I took my chief accountant to Yale

 Some years back when I was in the midst of my teaching career an event occurred that was life altering! I had a chance to get a year’s sabbatical from teaching and go back to college on a fellowship. Needless to say, the whole family jumped at the chance for a new adventure.  The school: Yale University!  All expenses paid and my salary too for a year.  So we packed up and moved to Connecticut where we rented a doctor’s summer home right on Long Island Sound. The kids were settled into their schools and life on the shore with fishing and all sorts of adventures. The Chief Accountant adapted well to life in an old house full of history, and ladies’ groups of wives of students like me. I was back to student life at a prestigious Ivy-league university. I could sample any and all classes I wished as long as I took one course for credit. So I chose 20th Century Literature taught by Cleanth Brooks. He was the author of several books and a teacher of note……I did my best to please him when I turned in papers.  One of my favorite courses was on Greek Philosophers, taught by Prof. Robert Brumbaugh. A former long distance runner, he had suffered a stroke and came in each morning with two canes, made his way up to the podium, hung the canes on the edge of his desk and lit up a cigarette right under the NO SMOKING  sign. Each day after he finished his lecture, all the students stood and gave him a standing ovation.  Yale University is made up of several colleges, and at the time had an all male policy. It has since become coed.  My membership was in Davenport College, and we had our own library and dining room. Must be it was a lonely place for new students.  Several times I brought the Chief Accountant with me for the day. I must admit she was in fine shape for those times; and when I brought her into the dining room, we would sit down to eat……after a time I noticed the boys were filtering in, and they all wanted to sit near her and engage her in conversation!    One time I brought her on campus for a class by Prof. Charles Feidelson, an expert on early American Literature.   We sat in the middle of a lecture hall with about 200 students……….the Chief Accountant was wearing a nice red plaid Pendleton suit, and the only woman in the place.  Prof. Feidelson launched into his lecture on “Erotic Elements in the Poetry of Walt Whitman.” Then he looked out, saw this attractive lady dressed in red…..and he lost his place for a moment!  After class I took Marion up to meet him. I apologized for our being the cause of his momentary confusion. He was most gallant and friendly to us, obviously pleased to be introduced to such a student wife. He was also one of my favorites.  Then I took Marion to meet my faculty advisor, the aforementioned Prof. Cleanth Brooks…  He had a cottage right on the grounds of my Davenport College. He answered the door and invited us into a mass of confusion. Books and papers all over and hardly a place to sit.  He cleared off a couple of chairs so we could visit. He told us he had just been appointed Cultural Attache to England for the United States and would be moving his family over there for a couple of years.  Professor Brooks was most friendly and obviously taken by the chance to “snap a lady’s garter.” When we left, Marion said to me…..”You told me he was an old bear! He’s not at all…..he’s a real gentleman, and I enjoyed every minute of it!”  As I look back on those days, I am still struck by the casualness in meeting well-known people. At one dinner party to which all of us teachers on the Fellowship were invited, I met and talked with Ret. Admiral Samuel Eliot Morrison. He had been appointed official U.S. Naval Historian, and had several books out including a marvelous biography of Christopher Columbus. I was impressed by the fact that when he found out I was a public school teacher he wanted to know all about the state of education in our country.  At dinner we had to find our places, and it turned out the Chief Accountant was seated next to Admiral Morrison!  I checked with her later, and she said, “Oh, yes, he was just as gallant and interesting as Professor Brooks was!”   Another adventure while we lived out there……we were to attend a conference at Harvard University. No one to leave the kids with, so we brought them along.  We toured Boston and went to the University……crews were rowing on the Charles River, and that university was all we hoped it would be. At the welcoming cocktail party, our children were dressed in their best, and the professors seemed to get a real kick out of talking with young people who were well mannered. The kids all agreed that they liked the refreshments….fish eggs on little crackers. None of us had ever tasted caviar before!  Another time we took them all to see Dave Brubeck in concert at Woolsey Hall on the Yale campus. When we filed into our seats, a well dressed and bejeweled lady behind us gasped in dismay.  The concert was great and our kids were all quiet. When we stood up to leave, the lady behind us said to Marion, “When you all came in, I was afraid the children would be fussy. But they were good as gold!”  Ah, days of glory in our family’s adventures…….golden threads woven into the tapestry of our lives in these story book towns along the Paw Paw River!

Coloma Library News Summer Reading Club

“On Your Mark, Get Set…Read!”

Readers of all ages are welcome to sign up today for Coloma Public Library’s “On Your Mark, Get Set…READ!” Summer Reading program.  The 2016 Summer Reading Program is open to young people, infant through young adult, with programs, prize drawings, story hours, a reading club, and more. Keep checking for dates for many fun and interesting programs. For more information, call the library at (269) 468-3431 or visit our website, All programs are free of charge.

Village Puppeteers

 Come to the Coloma Public Library on Tuesday, June 21 @ 11 a.m. to experience internationally acclaimed puppeteers riff on classic fairy tales in “Lost In Storyland”, a comical romp with puppets for the whole family featuring storybook characters brought to life in the expert hands of The Village Puppeteers.  The antics of Puss ‘N Boots, The Three Little Pigs, Rumpelstiltskin, Humpty Dumpty, the not-so Itsy-Bitsy Spider and a host of other characters are a delight to audiences of all ages. No Sign-Up or fee required, please call the library at 468-3431 with any questions!

Book Club

 The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting for a book discussion on Thursday, June 23 @ 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “I Always Loved You” by Robin Oliveira.  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. If you are interested in more information please stop in the library or call 468-3431.

Story Hour

 Story Hour meets on Wednesdays, at 10:30 a.m. Join Ms. Amy for a craft, story and song time! 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.

Watervliet Library News

New Saturday Hours 9:00 – 3:00

We have a new website – check it out.

 2016 Reading Challenge

12 reading challenges, one for each month throughout the year.  If you finish you will be entered to win a prize.  Slips will be due back on Dec 30, 2016.  Come in for more info.

 Looking ahead –

 Yoga every Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m.

Summer Reading Program – On Your Mark, Get Set…Read!  The reading portion of the program runs from Jun 20 – July 30.  Don’t miss out on our free, fun, exciting and educational summer reading program events.

Jun 21 – 11:00 – Magic with Bob Wigent

Jun 28 – 10:30 – Face Painting with Anna

Jul 5     – 11:00 – Wildlife Safari

Jul 12   – 10:30 – Steven’s Puppets

Jul 19   – 10:30 – Extreme Duct Tape

Jul 26   – 11:00 – Come to the Races

The Great Watervliet Duck Race – July 3, 2016 Sponsored by the Watervliet Business Association

You can buy tickets here at the Library. Tickets are $5.

Adult Coloring Night – The last Monday or every month

Rolling Back the Years


100 YEARS AGO – 1916

 Death called at the Stevic home. Mrs. A. B. Stevic, Coloma’s most talented woman, went to her eternal home. Funeral services were held from the late home. Dr. W. A. Baker, a brother, is the only surviving member of the Baker family.  The Congregational and Methodist churches observe Children’s Day and anti-cigarette Sunday. Especial attention was given to the book “The Little White Slaver,” printed and sent out by Henry Ford.  War News: The great Russian offensive swept down upon Czernowitz, capital of Bukowina.

60 YEARS AGO – 1956

 Last Rites were held for Rossie W. Curtis. Burial will be in the Curtis cemetery. Casketbearers are Erich Kerlikowske, Lester Newstrom, Henry and William Noffke, Leslie and Reuben Schmuhl.  Coloma has 2009 registered voters, according to the census of voting precincts. This is township and city combined.  Don Evett, 9, swam into deep water at Lake Paw Paw and suffered a cramp. Carl Fain, 16, responded to the cry for help and pulled the boy to safety.  The Ellinee Village Showcase opens for its second season. Admission is $1.30 for all seats.  Pier School is overcrowded. They may rent Camp Warren or adopt a “split-shift” system.

30 YEARS AGO – 1986

 Bryan K. Duffield graduated from the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science. He is licensed to practice in the state of Michigan.  High School graduates Emily Kreitner and Michelle Momany received scholarships from the Coloma Lions Club. Chairman Victor Wier made the presentation.  Patrice School of Dance offers Summer Classes in Beginning Ballet and Acrobatics.  Participating in the Sesquicentennial torch Run are: P. DeZwarte, S. Bower, D. Culver, G. Howell, E. Kreitner, C. Bohannon, O. Beechem, S. Olney and Track Coach G. Mc Ginnis.  Presidential Academic Fitness Awards, signed by President Ronald Reagan, were awarded to nine High School Seniors.


100 YEARS AGO – 1916

 That a complete program of sports, music and fireworks will be combined with the matinee races at the Hartford fair grounds on July 4 was assured last Monday when M.O. Oppenheim, H. Baker and R.L. Chamberlin secured from local business houses a sufficient fund to insure the carrying out of an excellent program.  H.F. Baker, who recently launched a plan to install an electric “Hartford Welcome” sign on west Main street where it will be visible from the passing Pere Marquette trains, is meeting with success. A popular subscription was taken up to defray the expense, and Mr. Baker is now having the sign constructed by the Edison Company in Chicago.  The two Hartford canning factories are busy with the canning of strawberries this week, and are finding the crop a very good one with the quality of the berries excellent. The factories are using the greater part of the local crop.

75 YEARS AGO – 1941

 The Hartford Philharmonic club held its last meeting of the current year Wednesday, June 11. After a most delightful luncheon at the Park Hotel, the group adjourned to the home of Mrs. Lsabelle Mortimer for a business meeting and social hour. The remainder of the afternoon was spent discussing programs for the coming year and in group singing.  Mr. and Mrs. F.W. Schurman have purchased the home of the late Eddie Stratton on Franklin Street, the former Woolsey property, and are moving there from the home of Mrs. Schurman’s sister, Mrs. Alice Hurry, on Shepard Street. Both the Schurman Beauty Shop and Mr. Schurman’s real estate office will be conducted at the Franklin street home.

50 YEARS AGO – 1966

 The Hartford Garden club will meet at 2 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, June 17, at the home of Mrs. Richard Conklin with Mrs. Duane Cook as co-hostess. A lesson on better irrigation methods will be given by Mrs. Paul Day. Roll call will be answered with “Gardening Tips”. The flower arrangement named “Roses in a Silver Container,” will be done by the hostess.  First move towards a new fire station for Hartford was taken Monday night when the City Council directed the fire board to bring in recommendations. The fire department’s three trucks now fill the present fire station, and a new truck in on order.


90 YEARS AGO – 1926

Printed on July 2, 1926: Men’s Dress Shirts $1 to $3.95  Men’s Dress Hats        $3 to $4.50  Men’s Dancing Shoes $4.95  Silk Vests                     $1.25  Silk Hose                      98₵  Silk Gloves                  $1 to $1.95  Night Gowns               $1.95 to $2

Grocery Department

2-pound box Colonial Salt           5₵  Star Naptha Washing Powder      3₵  Butter per pound                        46₵  Honey per pound                       35₵ Malcolm B. Weaver, son of the late Cyrus L. Weaver, and a former Watervliet boy, received his BA degree at Western State Normal, Kalamazoo, and has been given a position in Northwestern High School, Detroit, as a track coach and teacher of hygiene.

60 YEARS AGO – 1956

 The following is a letter in part, from Pfc. David Immoos to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Immoos, Watervliet, from the islands.  Dear Mom and Dad:  Is everything all right at home:  I haven’t heard from you since April 1, 1926.  Last Monday I saw the first H-Bomb detonation. On that morning all hands went quarters, each man has a place to go in the morning for the purpose of taking roll call. The Main Detachment mustered on the flight deck on the bow. Since the ship was headed into the blasts, we had the ideal location.  It was still dark that morning and we were dressed in full uniform. We could hear the P. A. system throughout the ship giving us time count down. At “C” -3 minutes, we turned our backs toward the ground zero and sat down. At “C” -10 seconds we covered our eyes in the crook of our elbow and waited 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.  The whole, censured sky lit up. You know when you hold your hand up to a bright light how it looks real red and you can see dark shadows on the bones?  Well, it was the same here, I thought I could see the bone in my elbow. About five seconds later we were allowed to look at it with our naked eyes. Ground zero was real red just as it is home morning when the sun is just over the horizon. We looked up and followed it up to where it disappeared beyond a black cloud which to our misfortune had blown between us and the blast, but behind it was the biggest cloud I have ever seen. I’ve heard it was nearly 100 miles across. It was real white at first, but as it got big and rose higher, it seemed to be boiling and turned a mixed shade of bright purple, yellow and white.  It is hard to describe on paper but its massiveness will astound you.  Love, Dave

30 YEARS AGO – 1986

 The United States Achievement Academy announced recently that Michelle Wark, WHS student, has been named a United States National Award winner in leadership. The academy recognizes less than 10% of all American high school students.


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