January 22, 2018

Tri-City Area History Page

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Paw Paw River Journal

Paw Paw River Journal

The Tonsorial  Parlor

 The above title is just fancy name for a barber shop.  Yup, I’ve been to the barber shop this morning, and I feel neat, clean, newly sheared and I don’t care who knows it!  Haircut, you say, when I’m not known for having a mop of curly tresses?  Well, it still grows around the edges, and my eyebrows get to the point it’s like I’m looking out through a bunch of vines!  So I go to my favorite barber shop…..right here in our kitchen!  I can remember when I was but a wee nipper, climbing up into the chair at “Heinie” Steinhilber’s hair emporium.  His shop was on the south side of Main Street in Hartford, just east of Jim’s Hardware.  Summer afternoon, and perhaps a dog sleeping in the shade of the stores on the south side.  Brick pavement and not many cars going through town.  The place always smelled deliciously of Bay Rum, and the little radio on a shelf would be tuned to baseball game, if there was one on.  Just an announcer in a studio reading from a ticker tape.  I was so small, Heinie put a board across the seat.  Then I grew enough so that I could just sit in the chair. How proud that made me feel! After he finished, he would always ask me, “Wet or dry?”  I said, “Wet!”  Then he would rub Bay Rum into my bristly new haircut.  When we were finished, I gave him a quarter, and he always gave me back a penny.  I immediately went to Knights 5 and 10 cent store across the street. Knight’s had a candy counter behind glass, and for one cent kids could get bubble gum with a baseball card, or a picture of some famous Indian. Or perhaps a tube of little candy root beer barrels. Haircut day was always special!  It was special when I went into the Air Force too!  A long line of barbers standing in tangles of shorn hair. Lines of new recruits filing in, and then stumbling out, their buzz job haircuts making them look like picked chickens.  We all looked alike, and felt as though we had lost some of our humanity. I guess that was the idea! They took us apart and then molded us into lean, mean GIs.      Everywhere we marched, we received hoots and cat-calls…. “Oh, fresh meat!”  “Look at those bald heads!” And, “My, aren’t we pretty!” We couldn’t wait for our GI boots to get scuffed, and our fatigues faded with repeated trips to the laundry.  Then we were out there, hollering the same words at the next bunch of recruits to come through.  All those months I was gone from home, I kept my hair cut short……most GI barbers do it best that way. A friend of mine was in the Seabees (Navy workers who would repair runways and rebuild after we had taken back an island).  He said one guy in their outfit shaved his head to keep cooler. Then the war ended and he decided to let it grow back for his return to civilian life.  Surprise!  No hair! Well, when I came home I didn’t have the curly locks I did when I went into WWII.  After my return to civilian life, I noticed over the years it was taking the barber less and less time to give me a haircut.  My last barber was in Heinie’s old emporium on Main Street.  He was Hughie Munro, and we were friends for years.  His younger brother, Don (we all called him Minnie), was in my high school class.  He came home from the war and died tragically in an accident, hitting a tree just out west of Hartford.  One day I was in the Chair at Hughie’s, and I said to him, “Do you have anything to keep hair in?  He said, “How about a cigar box?”   That answer didn’t satisfy me, so I said, “Well, I’ve got so little hair left, don’t you think you should give me a discount?”  Hughie stepped back and said, “Well, Bud, if you want me to give you a half of a haircut, I can do it!”  That ended the topic for me.   We both laughed about it, but when I went home and told Marion the story, she stood there with hands on hips and said, “Well, you’re going to get a new barber…… I can do it, and it’s going to be ME!”   Ever since then she has been cutting my hair. I couldn’t tell you how much money that has saved us over the years. She has new clippers, which Niece Tammy Kling got for us from her Beauticians’ Supply, and the cost has long been made up.  The Chief Accountant sets up a chair in the kitchen with all the lights on, wraps around me a special dish towel that has been retired from active duty (because it’s getting holes in it), and snips away.  Then a buzz job every bit as good as any I got in a GI barber shop!  You know how barbers are supposed to be so talkative…..carrying on a conversation with the customers?  That’s an old an honorable tradition. Well, not in our house! Here, the barber takes her work so seriously, she doesn’t say much.  She frowns a little, and clenches her jaw, but she does an excellent job. And sometimes while she is snipping and buzzing away, she leans against me. I like that.  And there we are, in our cozy kitchen.  In my mind the old cash register is going, “Ka-ching, ka-ching!” with the money we’ve saved over the years, while we have been weaving golden threads into the tapestry of our lives in this story book town along the Paw Paw River!

Watervliet Library News

We have a new website – check it out.  www.watervlietlibrary.net  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.

 Yoga every Wednesday evening at 7:00 pm

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 next free, fun and exciting summer reading program event. Jul 26 – 11:00 a.m. Come to the Races; lots of games and prizes!

Free Class – Jul 26, 2016  6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Hey Seniors! Learn how to use your smart phones, tablets or lap tops. Ryan Hafer, a computer expert, will be able to answer questions and explain things you don’t understand. Everyone (not just seniors) is welcome!.

Adult Coloring Night – the last Monday of every month.

Coloma Library News Wildlife Safari Visits the Library

 The Coloma Library is excited to be hosting Nelson’s Wildlife Safari on Friday, July 22 at 1:00 pm in the Library’s Community Room. This program is sure to be loads of fun for the entire family! See live animals and learn about Animals from Around the World. There is no sign-up to attend this free program. It is asked that all children be accompanied and supervised by an adult.

Book Club

 The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting for a book discussion on Thursday, August 4 at 5:30 pm. The title to read before the discussion is “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline.  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.

Book Sale

 The library’s annual Glad Peach Book Sale will be Saturday, August 6  from 10 am- 4 pm. The library will be CLOSED during the sale. Don’t miss out on this HUGE sale of gently used books, DVDs, videos and more!

Story Hour

 Story Hour meets on Wednesdays, at 10:30 am. 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.


rolling back the years

Coloma Courier

100 YEARS AGO – 1916

The choir of theCongregational church will give their second vesper song service. A sincere welcome awaits you at the little white church on the hill.  Ernest Koob, who learned his first lessons in baseball on the Coloma high school team, cut a niche in the hall of fame for himself while pitching for the St. Louis Browns.  Bathing Slippers – Bathing Caps – Water Wings: Resorters and Tourists; Scott’s Pharmacy has a complete line that you will need to complete your toilet.

60 YEARS AGO – 1956

Full plans for a sewage disposal plant have been drawn up by Engineer Ralph Petrie of Benton Harbor.  A proposal to dispose of the city garbage and rubbish was made by Francis Dunn for a cost of $50 a week. Dunn has a state approved garbage disposal setup at his place.  Natural gas will be available to residents along the western edge of Paw Paw lake. The line is being extended from the intersection of Paw Paw avenue and Paw Paw lake road.  Bowlers! – Have your shirts, blouses and skirts ready for the opening game. Call Ted Blahnik at HO 8-5938

30 YEARS AGO – 1986

The Vi Shafer International Dance Troupe will perform during the Glad Peach Festival and be part of the parade. Rosanne Bittner will be Honorary Grand Marshal.  Introducing Coloma’s new faces: Jeff Enders is a new police officer; Dan Coffey is Harding’s Manager; Mike Smith opened his own pharmacy inside Farmer Friday’s and Jack DeRosa‘s latest venture is a Pasta Hut on Paw Paw St.  Word has been received of the death of Frank Bertuca, formerly of Coloma. His brother Rocky, resides in Coloma.  Coloma City’s Public Works Coordinator Warren Damon enjoys his work. “It’s so challenging,” he states.

Hartford Day Spring

1916 – 100 years ago

Here is a chance for Hartford folk to star in the “movies”. The movie man will be on the local streets on August 2 to train his camera upon the immense parade of Ford cars which will start at 10:30 in the morning, as well as upon the street scenes which will include the crowds attracted to the village for the occasion. The movie picture operator will accompany C.A.Brownell, advertising manager of the Ford Company and rditor of the Ford Times, who will deliver an address at 2:30 in the afternoon, explaining the manufacture of Ford automobiles and the history of the largest automobile factory in the world. T.J. Fritz, of Grand Rapids, has purchased the East End Garage of Clarence DeHaven and W.P. Crosby, and took possession of the business last Saturday. Mr. Fritz comes from the automobile factories of Detroit. Mr. DeHaven will continue his agency for the Saxon cars, but Mr. Crosby is undecided as to his future business course.

1941 – 75 years ago

When they reported for duty last Thursday morning, Ward Plants, manager of the Hartford Co-Op Elevator, and other employees of the place thought that the big frame elevator on West Main street, built more than a half century ago, had started for China. During the night the building had settled more than two and a half inches. None of the doors could be opened until they were removed from their hinges and cut down to the new level. The elevator equipment, which stands on a solid foundation and rises to the top of the high structure, did not sink. Instead the roof appeared to be draped from the top of it, like canvas from a tent pole. Termites did it. Investigation showed that huge square timbers under the frame of the building had compressed to half their original thickness and the building had settled.  Richard Ralph Conklin of Hartford was the first among Van Buren county’s 207 21 year-old draft registrants to have his number drawn from the goldfish bowl in the national lottery last Thursday night. He held the first number drawn at Washington. Mr. Conklin is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Walter D. Conklin of south Hartford town line.

1966 – 50 years ago

Modern Mothers club of Hartford presented an electric hair dryer to Community hospital at Watervliet this week for use in the maternity ward. Nurse Janet Cordera, maternity ward supervisor accepted the gift for the hospital from two club members. Funds for purchase of the dryer were raised through helping with a Lions club play. Johnny Sea will sing and play his latest hit, “Day for Decision” at Melody Ranch Park here at 1 and 6pm Sunday. It is being played for high school and college assemblies, civic programs and church services.

Watervliet Record

1926 – 90 Years Ago

Dan Smith’s horse, that has hauled milk to the creamery in this city for many years, has got so that he understands the workings of the new traffic signal at the corner of Main and St. Joseph Streets. If the red signal shows he halts and does not proceed until he notes the green appear.  Mrs. Uriah Leonard celebrated her 88th birthday at her farm in Watervliet, July 31, 1926. She was the guest of honor at a chicken dinner prepared by her daughter, Miss Mary Leonard. Many family and friends attended.  Wheat yields ranging from 20 to 35 bushels to the acre are reported from the grain growing district. Among those having the larger yields are Maurice Carmody and Cyrus Hupp. The grain is of excellent quality.

 1956 – 60 Years Ago

Midshipman Otto J. Helweg arrived in Watervliet on Jul 21, 1956 from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis Maryland, to spend thirty days with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Otto Helweg, Pleasant Street. Mr. and Mrs. Philip Obermesik, are the proud parents of their baby boy, Philip Robert, born July 21, 1956 and weighed 7 pounds and 3 ounces. Mrs. Bernice McGowan from Fairview Beach, surprised her son, Bob, with a buffet dinner to celebrate his 18th birthday on July 18, 1956. In attendance were many family and friends.

1986 – 30 Years Ago

Rebecca Murphy and Christine Diamond, both Watervliet area scholarship recipients of Alpha Chapter, Alpha Beta Epsilon, an alumni sorority of Western Michigan University, will be special guests at the chapter’s annual summer picnic to be held on Aug 7, 1986. Navy Seaman Apprentice Carlton E. Melton recently participated in the international Naval Review in New York Harbor July 4 as part of the Statue of Liberty Centennial Celebration. Melton is currently stationed aboard the battleship USS Iowa, home ported in Norfolk, VA.  Three hundred nineteen degrees were awarded from Siena Heights College in May. Among the graduated was Verlin L. Vanhorn of Watervliet with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration.