Flag Day at City Hall
Acheson, Howard....WWII. Not many men has spoke of their turbulent time in the war- this one was an eye opener for me. Thank you Mr. Acheson for your service to our country- you are a remarkable man.
Bailey. Rev. Dean.... shares the trials and turbulent life none of us ever knew. How he couldn’t leave Lowell forever, how he loved this community and knew, we dearly loved him back.
Beachum, Don.... you know him as one of the pillars of this community, a wonderful, kind man that sold just about everybody in this town their very first couch. Well, in this interview you will get a peek at a part of him he didn’t talk about to many people......thank you for being you Mr B.
Beimers, Richard...Grew up in Lowell, just off from Lowellview and 28th street! This interview was conducted by Ivan Blough- little did we know that these two were long time friends! From school, to the war, to home; they talk about the times they had and all the changes Richard had to make and he still came out on top! Let’s listen in on this one folks. It’s a rare glimpse into these two community leaders friendship.
Bieber, James...Graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.
Bieri, Richard....shares his account based on his time in the military. His inspiration and insight will put a smile on your face. Thank you Mr. Bieri, for your service, we are forever a fan.
Bishop, Robert...Navy man!! How he went from Goodrich to sailing across the equator!! An interview with our Ivan and Nick Blough conducting- we learn of this strong willed man and his delightful story of coming home to his beloved Charlotte!
Clark, Dave & King Doyle....Man o man- this is a treat! Both men, leaders in this community, sat down and talked about the the path they both took in the military! Two different families raised two different boys; and yet, they found themselves on the very same path into adulthood. This interview shows how sincere their relationship and respect was built on common grounds- outside of our little town.
Christiansen, Bob....son of William Christiansen of our original soda fountain.
Condon Sharrock, Vicki....served in Vietnam- served for all of us. This Sunday is an interesting spin on how this little lady endured a war and her relationship with herself.
DeLoof, Arnie.... his story is about the time he spent in Korea and the moment he realized not to take anything for granted, that includes family, friends and freedom.
Doyle, Charles...Charlie Doyle! Oh yes we do!! This interview is such a tremendous time capsule!! He goes over his early years- school/college- military!!! Oh but that’s not all we have for you!! He talks about being the forefathers of our very own Arts Council- how he “strong armed” a few people for $ to put towards getting the “Art Train” to our town!! Many old timers remember him as the Lowell Postmaster till 1990- and all that time, he served in our community.
Doyle, King.... gives us a great insight to his life in the military and how much he understood the meaning of coming home.
Dudeck, Louis....Can you just picture one of our own hitting the beach in Vietnam? Yes we said Vietnam. And yet, yes, there’s something good/wonderful in this interview; he made sure his fellow comrades had a glimmer of joy on New Year's Eve.
Gerard, Dr. Don.... tells us of how he enlisted in 1951 training new recruits until 1953. And during the few years serving in the Korea war, he knew he had to find HOME. Little did we know, “Lowell was just going to be for a couple of years”.....and the community wouldn’t let him go
Dues, William...Grew up in the depression. Was a paper boy and washed dishes for 10 cents an hour. He joined the navy in 1943 a few days after graduating during WW2. Had to ride out a typhoon while on a destroyer. His ship was struck by a suicide pilot/plane. He talks about his harrowing experiences during war/combat….and then he came home…to a different looking Lowell.
Green, Robert Joe.... married 62 years, 4 kids and 30 years as a heavy-equipment mechanic for the City of Grand Rapids. Oh, but that’s not all ladies and gentlemen! Here he talks about his time served in the Korean War. How his eyes were opened to the world outside of his backyard. This interview was hand picked, just in time for the 4th of July weekend. His voice and story will hit a core- thank you Mr Green for being the cool old guy that rode his bike every where, only to find out the old saying holds true...Still water does run deep.
Gwatkins, Mary Ann.... a woman that always started her day with mass at St. Mary’s just before she went to work in her nurses whites. The person who encouraged our children to reach for the stars and shine in what you love to do. But, I bet you haven’t heard her story, about WWII. Listen in- this interview will make you sit up and say “oh my goodness “. Thank you Gwatkins family- we are grateful for sharing her with all of us.
Hotchkiss, Arthur....This navy man spent his military career in the “radio shack”. Oh- did I mention he was on a NAVY DESTROYER?? 510 feet long, big enough to displace about 8,000 TONS, capable of more than 30 knots AND carry crews of about 300?? Well- let’s listen to this delightful story of how he found courage, laughter and respect from his crew mates.
Jackson, Gloria.... shares her story is of how she knew her “calling” was to help those that kept all of us safe and sound during war time. (WWII) A VA nurse at Fort Custer, Battle Creek; she saw servicemen come home with lost limbs, lost friends and lost souls. She shares with us the difficult and light memories of being at the VA. And as she rounds up this interview, she says she wouldn’t have done it any other way.
Jarmosco, Steve.... a Vietnam story. He went to Vietnam, leaving his brothers, a 1964 Mustang and his youth behind. There- he was in combat, then hurt, given a Purple Heart by Martha Raye (American comic/actress) and saw and kissed the cheek of Diana Ross and Supremes at the farewell show they did over seas before coming home. Ohhh that’s not all the story here. Listen in, his VERY OWN granddaughter conducted this interview...her questions and his answers are very...heartfelt!
Johnson, William...This story is a special treat for the golfers out there! Right here is a kid who helped build a golf course that is today’s Watermark Country Club! Let’s listen in for a nice short interview about a Cascade kid that turned into a proud WWII veteran!!
Kaufman, Ernie.... drafted in 1945 after WWII was over. He was sent to Texas,Mississippi, San Francisco, Hawaii and then landed in Guam. The humor he used to keep the spirts high around him was unrelated! Just wait and hear what happens to the Generals car...what a true beacon of hope and humor for his fellow country men!! Thank you Ernie for being one of our own.
King, Eugene.... loving husband to Louise and his darling children Donna, Dawn and Daniel. He worked at Grand Trunk Railroad for way over 20 years and then on to ITM for retirement. But- before all of this “white picket fence and American dreams”, he also served in WWII.
Krebs, George...This segment is a delightful change from our past interviews. This is narrated by Ivan Blough. He tells the story of this mans life on the battle ground of France, to coming home to his beloved farm in Alto Michigan. It’s comforting to hear Ivan’s voice again and his description of his friend George.
Lally, John (Jack).... ohhh Lowell, this is a clear example of the saying “Still Waters Run Deep”. This gentleman went to college in Florence Italy, Aquinas, U of M, Mich State and Kendall School of Design. A librarian at Belding High in the 60’s and later Director of the Learning Center at Grand Rapids Junior College where he retired in 1979. But- this is not the story we have for you. This is of a young man that in WWII was involved with the first use of radar.
Lind, Otto...Otto Lind is our next vintage interview; conducted by Ivan Blough and his grandson! This one really takes you back- how he courted his wife, being snowed in and the path he took while in the service! This one has you wondering “exactly how did he do that?"
Lyons, Glenn...This is such a charming story for our 4th of July Celebration day!!! He covers his childhood, his love of his life and the amazing time he spent in the service!! This is a beautiful “hometown “ gathering of friends ladies and gentlemen- we have the story from Glenn and our very own Ivan Blough conducting the interview!!
Marks, Glenn....a military story about a kid that went off to serve in the Army’s medical department. And with FAITH, not luck because he doesn’t believe in that, he came back safe and sound.
Maier, Fred.... who most would know him as a school bus driver for many years. Little did we know his background check these days would include 21 years on an aircraft carrier in murky waters facing real life and death situations. He shares with us the darkness bestowed on him, and it’s a shaker. His story is ours to learn from. Thank you Mr Maier for keeping this interview real- this one is not for the faint of heart.
Myckoviak, Mike....a soldiers story of endurance and awakening. Not many of us know who Mike Myckoviak is, but he sure knows his connection to us has never wavered.
Nebbeling, John...This man served in WWII- 7th Army Artillery Unit- Italy, France and Germany! His story brings you to the footpath he took thru the back countries. Giving him a sincere appreciation of “keeping your word” -no matter what.
Parker, Gerald...This interview is a short one! It’s a “light and airy “ story he tells of his life here- getting drafted- then meeting his beautiful wife. He’s proud of this community and will forever be our “hometown boy.”
Parsons, Clark...One of Lowell’s first weather men! This gentleman was born and raised in our town, went to school and then ran off to join the Air Force!! (Yep, a B52 bomber caught his eye and off he went!!)
Pfaller, Leo....This delightful interview is conducted by students from our very own high school! He talks about the dreams he had for his future after college and then proudly being sent to serve. Oh but this is not the entire story, our hometown man had his mother send out the family’s hair clippers!
Plattner, Howard...This interview is his story about burning draft cards to finding himself in the service hospital assisting a crew of surgeons. He gives us an enlightened look at the medical breakthroughs that was achieved durning the Vietnam war- oh but folks- he gives us much more ….he gives us a smile and a second look
Rackham, Milton....oh this ones not simply a WWII veteran. Oh no. He’s an author. He offers a glimpse into hell with his book “PT Boat 81- Still on Patrol 66 Years After WWII”. We are blessed that we have his story, told in his own words.
Reagan, Robert.... enjoy this narrative, conducted by his grandson, from this towns favorite dentist and father of 10 kids. This interview covers a different part of him, this is about his time before Lowell, before meeting his beautiful wife, but as a young man, he served in the Army Air Force. His story had me in awe- what a great leader! Thank you Reagan kids for sharing him with all of us.
Richardson, John...This man gives us an insight on growing up in Detroit, in a Catholic neighborhood and what he and his friends did for fun on the streets back in the 60’s and 70’s. Oh but that’s not all folks- he joins the service and launched his future!!
Schneider, John.... Korea was what was handed to him. From a small town to Korea, what a eye opener for him!
Schreur, William... Yep. We have the interview between the 2 builders! Ivan Blough and Bill Schreur! From a young man walking his dads property with his dad and former president Gerald Ford, to taking his wife on their first date to see the Lowell Showboat: we have an interview that will make you stand up and say, “is this what really happened “?
Sefton, Elizabeth....Elizabeth Sefton! What a tribute for this Memorial weekend we have for you folks! This little lady has a story to tell, and what a deal MAKER it is!!
Sefton, George...This interview was conducted by his very own granddaughter Katie! Let’s listen in to this delightful conversation between these two and the surprise ending we have for you!!
Sharrock Condon, Vicki.... served in Vietnam- served for all of us. This interview is an interesting spin on how this little lady endured a war and her relationship with herself.
Siegle, Dr. Richard.... lived to 96, grew up in Boston, went to Michigan State where he received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, moved to Alto and opened the doors to the Cascade Hospital for Animals. And yet, he took the time to let us in, and tell us about his time spent in WWII, 4 years overseas- away from the comforts of home. Thank you Siegle family for sharing him with us for all those years
Sterzick, William.... Alto boy finds his true love in Germany? Bill shares with us his childhood dreams and his destiny to have this link from Alto to Europe.
Steward, Robert....This interview is a true love story. We have his wife of many years joined in on this one folks. Many of us remember him driving the City of Lowell’s green van, his model T in parades and their beautiful home surrounded by boxwoods meticulously groomed. This interview is not just about where they both were raised why they stayed- it’s about their beginning.
Story, Ronald.... Mr. Story takes us through basic training and to his time in Europe during the Korean War. Stationed in France, Story travelled extensively in Europe. Hear how Paris and Europe looked in the post-World War II years during his travels.
Wabeke, Richard...This interview was conducted by a student in the Arts Center. This gentleman talks about the letter stating to report for service and how he had no idea then what that really meant until his time was over. How he feels the discipline helped him move into the right direction for the rest of his life.
Wells, Gerald....The life and times of a country boy becoming an MP in the service. This very candid interview surprised me- the subject of racism came up and it became clear, the lines were drawn but the kindred spirit was brotherly.
Westbrook, Thomas...A delightful interview conducted by none other than Mark Webber w/cameraman fellow teacher Jim White. This is a prime example of how much this oral history project meant to these men. Let’s listen to a voice we had lost years ago and the gentleman from our area that was proud to sit down with him and do this interview.
Yeiter, Sam.... sat down with the Library of Congress. He covers his childhood, being the first Eagle Scout in Lowell at the age of 13 to graduating and joining the ROTC. From the Calvary to meeting one of last 5 star generals in our nation’s history; Omar Nelson Bradley. Impressive huh? Well we have one word for you: Tupperware. Yes folks- this story has a huge twist!
Zandstra, Ray.... built a career in Civil Engineering, formed a business called V-Tec Engineering, served on several boards including Schneider Manor, Lowell Downtown Development Authority, City of Lowell Planning Commission to name just a few. But...did you know of his time in the United States Navy? Well- let’s grab a cup of hot tea and settle in for this interview folks...his civil engineering background will all make sense.
Able, Addie....who raised most of Lowell! Yes, she finally agreed to an interview. She shares with us her early days attending our Fallasburg school to where she is now. Oh but don’t be fooled- she did mention one or two of you kids she sat and the fun times she remembered.
Avery, Keith....Keith Avery! Yes we do!!! This is a very old interview of an Artist- Poet- Cowboy. This is definitely a Thanksgiving Special for all of us! Grab your leftover pie and tall glass of milk, this one will leave you wondering how in the world???
Avery, Norton....The very first artist from Lowell I was told about. It was in the early 70s and his work mystified me- his easy lines- the crisscrossed way of a shadow…I couldn’t get my magnifying glass close enough. I begged my mom to buy an original so I could dissect/study it. I wish I could have asked him a thousand questions. And here we are- ladies and gentlemen, an interview of his story in his own words.
Blough, Carolyn Jane Part 1.... hold on to your hats on this one everyone! We have a special addition for you! This little lady sat down with us on different occasions thru the years for our interview- this will give you an insight of her first talk with us years ago (airing this Sunday, January 26th) then a bit after that, another one on how she’s doing with her family growing and moving all over (airing Sunday, February 2nd) to the most recent; (airing Sunday, February 9th) reflecting on living as she is: a strong willed, creative, passionate woman about keeping Lowell’s History alive. Volunteering spanning thru the years with Teaching, Showboat and Lowell Museum renovation.
Part 2 Part 3
Cahoon, Marilyn and Shirley Weeks Nester....two sisters that give us a peek into their world of growing up in Lowell. These two sisters show us how they; together; reflected how each other touched their hearts in ways no other could. How they shared their hopes, their fears, their love, everything they have.
Dey, Delores.... aka the famous Dode. What a busy lady! Her work covers LAAC, Lowell Historical Museum, Lowell Chamber, raising 6 kids and what I remember most: her influence on the grand quilt for the Lowell Arts Fall Fest!! I personally had the privilege of working on projects with her and loved every minute with her feisty way of doing things!! This one, ladies and gentlemen, is not to be missed! Thank you Dey family for sharing her with all of us, all these years.
Fletcher. Gladys Mae...This interview was done many years ago ladies and gentlemen. Her memories of the “Segwun Community” where she was born and raised, with Indian neighbors a one room schoolhouse up on the hill and the Railroad just outside her door. She opens up about the way it was then and now for all of us to sit glued to hear her next words. What a beautiful gift we have for you. Sit down- grab a glass of ice tea and listen in- she’s naming several families who she grew up loving and adoring.
Ford, Donna Jean.... alifelong Lowell resident, telling us her story of growing up on the farm, her attending a one room school house and along the way we get an understanding why she simply couldn’t leave this community she dearly loves.
Fonger, Rosie... past owner of Rosie Drive Inn at 800 W Main St, Lowell, and Fonger Super Save Market. Did you know in the summer they had a basketball court behind the restaurant and in the winter they had an ice skating rink? Yes, she loved golfing, oh how she loved golfing!! But ladies and gentlemen, this isn’t the story we have for you. We have HER story- as a little girl, growing up in Lowell and how she met Mac. This is the “ah ha” moment you will think about for a very long time. Thank you Rose- for all these years.
Hoover Johnson, Sally....many of you may not know this little lady. But folks, her story is definitely a true “Home Coming” for your listening pleasure. This one is about how Lowell stood up and made things right for this family. Listen in- there’s not going to be a dry eye anywhere after this one airs.
Jones, Bill....“Note: This video features an original recording of a song being sung at the Lowell Showboat. The images show the singers and musicians that are featured. The images are unsettling in the use of blackface for the performance.
The Lowell Showboat was a community wide event that brought many people to the shows. Today we recognize the troubling use of blackface and lyrics that portray African Americans in a negative way. Why was this done? The idea of a southern style showboat as entertainment in Lowell was not born in a vacuum. In 1912, a song “Waiting for the Robert E. Lee” was written to commemorate a famed steamboat on the Mississippi River. The song was further made popular when Al Jolson sang it in the 1927 film, The Jazz Singer. The book “Show Boat” written in 1926 was turned into a Broadway musical in 1927. The popularity of show boat style shows built on a longer history of minstrel shows. Southern style minstrel shows were a popular form of live entertainment from the 1800s well into the twentieth century. Minstrel shows often featured white entertainers with blackface makeup depicting African Americans. The Lowell Showboat began in 1932 in an effort to attract people to town. The showboat/minstrel show format was chosen due to its popularity at the time.
The practice of using blackface makeup was called into question as the Civil Rights movement gained ground in the 1960s. In 1963, the practice was questioned in Lowell but not until 1967 was it discontinued. This was the same year that Louis Armstrong performed on the Showboat. Local tradition states that he insisted that blackface not be used. While not documented, this could have been a factor in the decision. Other factors included the growing awareness of Civil Rights and unease with blackface performances. Race riots in Grand Rapids and Detroit that July in the weeks leading up to the 1967 Showboat performance may have heightened awareness as well. Blackface briefly returned to the Showboat in 1972 before finally ending in 1977. Pearl Bailey reportedly requested in her contract to perform that summer that the endmen not be in blackface.”
Kleefisch, Ray....A last name you don’t recall- but his family ties to this community are remarkable!! His grandfathers name is BERGIN - it’s posted on the building the Flat River Grill is located at. His grandfather wore many hats- farmer in Parnell area, Lowell Council member, LLP building designer and Rep in Lansing. Ray talks about his uncle that was none other than Father McGee and mentioned the books he write about the visitors to the famous home in Lowell. And for an added bonus- Ray talks about his childhood growing up in Lowell from riding his bike all over to stealing a kiss at his beloved Strand Theater. It’s definitely a stroll thru memory lane!!
Kropf, Walter Bruce...This interview covers the early years of Lowell! He talks about the house they lived in, the type of fun kids had those days, the bank robbers that came from Grand Rapids and much more- man o man this is such a batch of delightful story’s he shares!
Kuna, Laurie....You know, sitting her down for an interview took months of planning and gathering questions for her. And then, the day of the interview, without hesitation, she opened up about everything- growing up adopted- college- how we got her in Lowell and then, why on earth did she stay? Thank you Miss Kuna for your time and patience- us kids needed your input on the world back then and we treasure it today. Thanks for being ours.
Lippert, Chuck.... oh yes we have this one!! We covered Showboat, the Pharmacy, his leadership, and his many stores. But- we weren’t prepared for this update of what he’s been up to since he’s left Lowell. This talk doesn’t disappoint ladies and gentlemen. I’m still in awe. Thank you Lippert family for being ours- even though your time with us seemed like a blip on our radar- you have left a forever imprint on our hearts.
Lowell Memories....Ohhhh we have a big one for you folks! The elders of this community came together for this action packed interview MANY years ago!! After long hours of editing and enhancements, it’s ready for us to release! We have- Charlie Doyle, King Doyle, Betty Yeiter, Jack Lally, Helen McMahon, Phil Schneider and none other than Norm Borgerson Jr!! They talk about the famous Purple Gang of bank robbers that put our town on national news and the interviews Glendon Swarthout conducted before he wrote his famous book “Welcome to Thebes”! Oh but that’s not all that was brought out!!
MacNaughton, Roger....need I say more? Oh yes ladies and gentlemen, this is the real deal. LOWELLife sat down with him in his recording studio, and the memories, the laughs the songs flowed! From his “Harlequin Wednesday” he wrote for his wife to the early days with Showboat and GarageBands!
Night of Reminiscing....Ann Borgerson, Ray Borgerson, Norm Borgerson, Harold Englehardt, Ruby Christiansen, Bruce Walter, Anita Walter, Bob Hahn and last but not least Dave Coons. Ohhhhh ladies and gentlemen; this is definitely a Night of Reminiscing!! This interview was done in the 90’s showcasing the leaders of the community! So much laughter and joy with this group! This interview is one you’ll never forget!!
Potter, Marge... Look, I’ve never had an Ivan Blough interview like this before folks! This little lady has a lot to share about the many achievements she did, right here in our wonderful town! From participating in a show on the 2 floor at City hall (which got such rave reviews as it was mentioned in the New York Times) to having a national recognized rock collectors store! (Potters Pebble Palace)
Reagan, Jim....Oh folks, welcome to the world of the Reagan family. Lowell’s very own! How did they all get along? How did all those kids get ready for school every morning? How did they find time to go on vacation? We are talking about 10 kids people. And in all that chaos; Jim knew right from the start he dearly wanted this life for himself and his future family.
Rice, Bob & Lanie....yes- the Rice’s! Sitting down with these two was like a beautiful walk in the park! This interview covers both their childhoods and their schooling, but, did you know how they met each other? Let’s listen in on this delightful couples courtship, deciding on carriers path and how the heck did we get them to LOWELL??
Roth, Ed....Ed Roth! Man o man- hard working from sunrise to sundown! This farmer and his beautiful bride built a lifetime of memories and are proud examples of “what it takes to succeed “ in the farming business!
Rutherford, Marian.... tells us how growing up in this community was always an adventure, how her beautiful sisters always had her back and marrying into the Rutherford family will forever tie her to the history of Fallasburg and this community.
Thomet, Duke.... oh boy, now who didn’t walk thru his car lot looking for the next car? This interview showcases this community leader! Did you know he supplied the vehicles to pick up the entertainers for showboat? The list of behind the scenes things he did will give you an “ah ha” moment! Me? I was just in awe that this dad made sure his only daughter had a different corvette to drive to high school every year!!
Taylor, Sylvia... may ring a bell, may not. How about this- she was the first female Post Master of our Lowell Post office...yes, you remember now. This interview finds her retired and volunteering- oh but thats not all we have- she broke many barriers here in Lowell folks- this little song bird knows her way around the board room.
Sprenger, Mike... “Mike from Spring Grove” was said hundreds of times through the years in our community in which everyone knew him. We were granted this candid interview as boxes were packed up and many customers saying their good byes on his last day at the store. We went over his childhood, him meeting his beautiful bride and how he ended up here for the rest of his working life. This one was a hard one for me folks. His answers surprised all of us. We miss seeing you Mike on Main Street- but we can’t expect you to be ours forever- thank you for all you did for us in the community- looks like we need to take up golfing to see what your doing these days!! Grab a tall ice tea folks- this one shouldn’t be missed.
Stephens Mike...Here’s a huge treat for us folks! His family has been coming to their place on Murray Lake for a 100 years! The photos they took and the writings they did are massive enough to open the lake’s very own museum!! The music for this interview is by Mr Roger MacNaughton- it’s a beautiful segment and we are lucky to have captured this one! This one made me listen to it again and again, thinking we have to visit Mr Stephens again for more stories on Murray Lake!!
Vegas, Ross...Lowell’s very own gem!! This man has spent his life dedicated to his family and the entertainment industry! I first set eyes on him as a kid running thru the Fair with my friend Tracy and stopped in our tracks at the voice coming from the Bingo tent. I caught glimpses of his show thru the years and often wondered who he really was and what is his ties to our town. Well folks, his story surprised us all.
Wenger, Ron.... past president of the Kent County Youth Fair, Ron Wenger. His story is heartwarming, sharing an insight from his childhood, why he got involved with 4-H, the changes he faced and how he found his forever connection with our community.
White, Lois...This little lady grew up in Lowell- both parents were teachers and had jokester brothers. Oh, but, did you know of the secret hiding place she put her diary in at their the old house? Folks this gets better- years later we have the very people who live in that old house, helping with this interview and now has started searching!!
Wood, William....Bill Wood- that’s always what he answered to. Many simply called him friend, two lucky kids called him dad. This is his story of wearing many hats all his life to ensure his mother, his wife and his kids had a roof over their heads, food on the table and laughter in everyone’s hearts. How he managed to pull everything together and yet, had the spark in him to always reach out to help his neighbors when they needed him. Thank you Wood family for being an important part of this community all those years.
Yeiter, Betty.... a story of a young girl growing up on a farm knowing all along teaching was her future.
Children under 5, Free
Families, $10.00 max.
Saturday 1-4 pm