January 22, 2018

Tri-City Area History Page

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Paw Paw River Journal

Paw Paw River Journal

Long Summertime Thoughts

 Well, here we are!  Seems as though we wait a long time for real summer weather.  But isn’t it wonderful when it finally gets here?  We have passed the longest day of the year, and already the sun is setting earlier every day.  But no matter, we will enjoy it while it is here.  A forest of green surrounds our house, and a new crop of nerdy young squirrels hops from tree to tree, chattering, and once in a while losing their grip and falling to the ground.  I’d swear when that happens, they look around, embarrassed, to see if anyone has noticed.  Dappled shade falls on our back screen porch as we sit and contemplate nature and eternity.  This is a trip we are on.  We are so thankful that it has been as long as it has. So once in a while I try to take stock…….see how we are doing in the grand scheme of things.  When I was younger, I didn’t do that much.  Didn’t have time!  But now I can feel autumn coming on in more ways than one.  And there is time to think.  We have lost so many people it takes pages and pages of memory to recall them all.  One I have been thinking of lately is Marion’s youngest brother, Louis Kling. People called him Louie, and he slipped into the shadowed part of The Great Circle of Life way too soon!  He was in his 50s when he left us.  He was just a wee lad when I came home from WWII.  My Chief Accountant was 10 years old when he was born.  Everyone had to work hard on the farm, so Marion often had the little guy left in her care.  She has told me she became so much of a caregiver that he would come to her with a bump or bruise just as soon as he would come to their Mom. When they were all working in the strawberry fields during the season, she put him in their Radio Flyer coaster wagon. It had wooden stake sides.  And she’d pull him out to the packing house where they were getting in the berries for market, so he could see what was going on.  When Marion and I were dating in high school, I’d come out to their house, and sometimes I’d visit with Louie, who was now in elementary school.  I found we had a common interest: western movies.  One time we were talking about our favorite heroes of the silver screen.  He said, “I used to like Gene Autry, but I don’t so much anymore.”  When I asked him why he had changed, he said, “Oh, he’s always getting with girls now!”  Summers when I was not teaching, if I didn’t have to go back to college for classes, I would work on their farms with the boys, Bob and Louie.  We spent many hours hoeing and cultivating strawberries, getting in hay, and all the other things that have to be done. In turn, both boys served two years in the army, and that was another bond we had.  Each of them, by the time they graduated, had saved enough money to buy a car.  The family had a nice shop with furnace and tools for fixing farm equipment, so evenings we would gather out there and work on our cars.  Can you believe that back in those days we changed tires by hand?  And we put on new exhaust systems too.  I’ll admit a few of those jobs required some blue language to get the job done.  Finally the family got out of the farming business. Both boys went into the building trades and did carpenter work.  Some of their sons followed them and they all became expert carpenters.  I am most pleased to say that the old house we bought way back when the Chief Accountant and I were first married has gone through several transformations.  And Kling brothers did all the work, including new roofs, a new garage addition, and extensive remodeling inside.  I am so thankful for my folks and all the nurturing care they gave me growing up.  But Marion’s family has also been a big influence in my life.  Her Mom helped us many times…..she was an expert gardener, and Marion could always count on her advice when our own children were small.  Her Dad, Louis H. Kling, loomed large in my life too. He never had a chance to finish high school, but that did not hold him back from becoming a man of influence.  He always held that education was a good thing. And whenever I thought of going back to school, he was the first one to say, “Do it!”  He made sure that both girls, Marion and Dolores, got an education so they would have a career.  As I said, both boys, Bob and Louis, went into the building trades, and their folks could be proud of all four.  During Louie’s last years, we would sometimes talk. And he told me a little story that still resonates in my life. He said he had a friend who was also a carpenter. They decided to trade labor, because the friend was building a house for his family. Louie helped him with many hours of work.   Then finally Louie was building a new house for his family. He went to the friend for help, and guess what! The guy was too busy…….didn’t have time to help him! Louie told us about it. He said, “After that I hated him…..he had really let me down. I hated him for a period of time and it was just eating on me.  Then one day I thought about it and came to the conclusion that it didn’t even bother the guy.  The hate was all on me, and was really making me feel bad.  “So I decided I wasn’t going to hate him anymore……..just let it all go. And after that I felt much better!”  So there was a life’s lesson for me.  And I’ve never forgotten it. If I hate someone over a wrong, it harms no one but me! That has helped me in a few situations since then.  I just have to let it all go!  Sometimes it is not easy…….but very necessary.  Advice still coming from a friend and brother-in-law who has been gone for years, but whose words still resonate down the corridors of time.  Pretty long thoughts for a beautiful sunny day in this story book town along the Paw Paw River!

Watervliet Library News 2016 Reading Challenge

 There are 12 reading challenges, one for each month throughout the year. Completed challenges are entered to win a prize. Slips are due back on Dec. 30, 2016. Come in to the library for more information.

Looking ahead-

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

Adult Coloring Night – the last Monday of every month.

Those interested in having another class on handling your smart phones, lap tops or other mobile devices – let us know. Call or come in.

Be sure to visit the library website at www.watervlietlibrary.net.

Sister Lakes Lions Club Swiss Steak Dinner

 The Sister Lakes Lions Club will have a Swiss Steak Dinner Saturday, August 6   from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at its clubhouse in Lions Park, 66991 95th Avenue. The menu will include Swiss steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet corn on the grill, tomatoes, rolls and beverage.  The cost is $12.00 for adults and $5.00 for children ages 4 to12; children under 4 are free.  Tickets are available from Lions Club members or may be purchased at the door.  Proceeds from the dinner will go to support Lions Club projects including building and grounds improvement.

Rolling Back The Years

Coloma Courier

1916-100 years ago

The paving contract having been completed, the road in Riverside is now open for traffic. The traveler may proceed without fear of having stones thrown at their automobile. Rev. W. H. Fuller, pastor of the Congregational church has been at Lake Geneva, WI for the benefit of his health. He sends a letter, “I have had a most delightful time and enjoyed reading about home affairs in your most excellent paper.” War News: A large number of German prisoners arrive in Southampton, England after their capture.

1956-60 years ago

The Coloma summer band will present a concert in Baker Park. Also, the band will hold marching rehearsals in preparation for the Berrien Springs Youth Fair and the Mardi Gras Festival in Chicago. Coloma celebrates many new births: Wanda Jane was born to Mr. and Mrs. Harry Knecht; Annette was born to Mr. and Mrs. Paul Rogers; Norma LaJean was born to Mr. and Mrs. Willie Holland; Terry Lynn was born to Mr. and Mrs. Richard Hazen. Local farmers have, once again, obtained loans through the Farmers Home Administration. Mr. and Mrs. Alvin “Ed” DeFields will be honored at an open house. They are celebrating their golden wedding anniversary.

1986-30 years ago

Water Show on Paw Paw Lake to be put on by the young talent from Watervliet and Coloma. Some participants are Rob and Frank DeLaTorre, Robin Leslie and Paula Albrecht. David Schultz, 29, will realize a seven-year dream when he tees off at the Western Amateur golf tournament at Point O’ Woods. Kristen Hess and John Dahlquist were chosen Princess and Prince of the Glad- Peach Festival. Emily Kreitner will vie for the crown in the Berrien County Apple Queen contest held at the grandstand of the Berrien County Youth Fair.

Hartford Day Spring

1916 – 100 years ago

The danger of carelessly dropping lighted cigar stubs during such dry weather as has prevailed during the past three weeks was illustrated last week when the timely discovery of burning grass saved from destruction the old K.L.S. & Co. depot on North Center street. The building is filled with baskets owned by High & Thompson. In passing the building Mr. Thompson discovered the fire just as one corner of the structure had begun to burn. A cigar had apparently ignited the grass and the fire had just reached the building. The flames were easily extinguished, but a few minutes more would have seen a destructive fire.  Good progress is being made in the paving of Main Street this week. The brick for the entire paving have been received and are being placed along the curb. The foundation on west Main Street has been rolled and completed and the laying of brick began Monday morning. The brick have been laid from Maple Street to Franklin Street and the block has been opened to pedestrians during the carnival. Bert Dyer has also completed the construction of the new concrete curbs on east Main Street from Center Street to Haver Street, preparatory to the paving of the block as soon as the section on west Main Street is completed.

1941 – 75 years ago

Prolonged blasts of the fire siren Monday forenoon brought Hartford firemen scurrying to give battle to the first menacing blaze of its kind in Hartford’s loop district for many a year. It was a downtown alarm and the big red truck, Chief Wm. N. Smith, and his men sped westward along the south alley to find the seat of the blaze. Billows of smoke were pouring from an old time edifice, one of the few remaining relics of pre-plumbing days. The locale of the charred building is at the rear of the Frank Ansteth beer tavern. Chancy Conklin, who occupies an apartment above the tavern, was also a fire loser. He not only lost his accommodations, but his tomato crop was destroyed. Chancy had planted rows of tomatoes in the enriched soil around the ancient edifice. The green vines gave it a pastoral setting and enhanced the scenic beauty of the spot.  Mrs. Alice Hurry was hostess to members of the Hartford Art Study class at her home on Shepard and Franklin streets Monday afternoon. The study of South America was continued with Mrs. May Deane reading from the book “Americas to the South” by Whittaker.

1966 – 50 years ago

Two Hartford riders, who did well with their horses at the Van Buren Youth Fair last week, were Robert Fuller and Paul Hathaway, Jr. They took part in an action event at an open horse show at the fair Saturday afternoon. Fuller won a trophy for horse showmanship and Hathaway placed second in pony class and tied for third in the junior event for state 4-H show horses. Cindy Sherman of Hartford, and her horse, Red, won trophies at the Van Buren Youth Fair last week for junior horse showmanship and junior horsemanship. She was the only horse exhibitor to win two trophies, and plans to take “Red”, to the state 4-H show.

Watervliet Record

1926 – 90 Years Ago

Printed on Aug 8, 1926 in the classified section:  Will the lady who took the silver manicure scissors from the dresser at Mrs. O. J. Miller’s home, on Wednesday Aug 11, 1926, please return same and greatly oblige Mrs. Miller.     Dr. J. W. Gunn made his first airplane flight with one of the Paw Paw Lake aviators in Aug 1926.  He further defied the fates by making his initial flight on Friday the 13th and by taking a black cat along with him.  Doc was so delighted with the experience that he is thinking of getting one for use in his practice and then it would be handy for quick jumps to Florida, where has realty interests.

Advertisement on Aug 20.1926:

Women’s Suits                   $ 3.55

Men’s Suits                           3.49

Boy’s Suits                            2.40

Bathing Caps                           .19

Bathing Slippers                      .79



1956– 60 Years Ago

Dr. A. K. Solomon, Assistant Professor of Physiological Chemistry, Harvard University and Director of the Biophysical Laboratory, Harvard Medical School, offers advice to three Michigan high school teacher-students attending a science teacher-student refresher course.  Among them was Joseph E. Dickson, teacher at WHS.     Mr. and William Yeske are the proud parents of a six pound, nine ounce baby girl, Anne Jayne, born Aug 1, 1956.     Mr. and Mrs. William E. Hamberger are the proud parents of an 8 pounds and 4 ½ ounce baby girl, Juan Lorre, Born Aug 1, 1956.

1986– 30 Years Ago

Miss Brandi Jo Arnt, age 11, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Arnt, Watervliet, has been selected as a finalist in the 1986 Miss Michigan National Pre-Teen Pageant to be held at the Amway Grand Plaza, Grand Rapids, on Aug 30, 1986.  The winner of the pageant will receive a $1000 savings bond, crown, banner and a round trip flight to the National Pageant to compete with other state winners for the title of Miss Nation Pre-Teen of 1987.      The Paw Paw Lake Area Rotary Club awarded its second annual educational grants to three area students the week of Aug 13, 1986.  From Watervliet is Dawn Levine, daughter of Ronald and Barbara Levine.  She plans to attend Michigan State University and major in audiology and speech science.     Mr. and Mrs. Bennie Little announced that their son, Jeff, has been named in Who’s Who Among American High School yearbook published nationally.Onlysix percent of all junior and senior class students from the nation’s 22,000 high schools are recognized and honored.