Friday, January 6, 2012

Social Life -1950s

Social Life - 1950s
Leisure crossroads or corners was the social gathering place (107th Ave and 64th St) for East Casco Township.  It included the Evangelical United Brethren Church (EUB), Riley's Handy Store, the Community Hall, and the Fire Station.  A great deal of informal socializing or "loafing" was carried on at the store.  Men sit on the benches in front of the store after dinner and chores were done.  On occasion Riley would  show free movies on the north side of his store building and softball games where played north of the store.

Most everyone in the area attended the EUB Church led by Rev. Crosby and then Rev. Litchfield in the 50s.  Opal Barden was the organist and her son Richard frequently played his marimba.  Richard is still playing at the new Casco United Methodist Church.  One of his favorite hymns is "His Eye Is On The Sparrow".  Fund raising dinners by the Ladies Aid Society of the EUB Church were don't-miss social gatherings.  Dinners were in the small Church basement until the new Community Hall was built across the street in 1953.  This new community hall with large basement and kitchen replaced the Knights of the Maccabees Hall.  The Grange members also used the hall for their Saturday meetings and noon meal.
Many men belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) benevolent fraternal organization.  The Rebekah Lodge was a branch/auxiliary of the IOOF open to all women.  Both groups used the community hall and supported a summer camping program for youth.  Some women of the community belonged to the East Casco Garden Study Club.  Membership was limited in number because the club meetings were held at member homes.  If you were hosting the club meeting your garden was on tour.  Many of these same women (and couples) would meet on occasion to play cards and would take winter trips to the same area in Florida.

Another "social club" for men was the Township Fire Dept.  Fire Chief Harry Overhiser lived within a long stones throw of the station.  Riley Overhiser ran the store, never went anywhere, and lived a short stones throw from the one truck station.  Riley (the dispatcher) would take fire calls and push a button to activate the siren.  The first volunteer to arrive drove the truck and others follow along.  In the 1960s a second truck was purchased and the Dept became much more organized and connected with the South Haven Fire Dept.  The men also had a softball team and dear hunting groups.

The all men Casco Band of the 50s was formed in 1928.  It practiced Monday nights and performed in and around the community.  Brothers Riley (trombone), Ward (clarinet), and Ray (cornet) Overhiser were members and at one time there were 7 Adkins in the band.  The Casco Band is still practicing and performing today and has allowed some women to join.
The Casco - South Haven Pomological Society was made up of fruit growers from SW Michigan.  The members from the Casco area helped organize an annual Parade of Peaches with dinner at the Community Hall.  The well attended annual farm machinery show was also hosted by the East Casco farmers for farmers from all over the state.  The equipment was set up on Arlie Overhiser's field across from Riley's store and Rankin Lyman was in charge of a dinner at the hall.

For the youth of the community there were school activities, EUB Youth Fellowship, movies in South Haven, dances and roller skating in Allegan.  Family gatherings were also super social events.  Living on the farm was hard work but there were many opportunities for fun.

At The Farm January 6, 2012
Allan survived his birthday on the 4th and has been attending lots of meetings to start the year.  Aaron, the freshman, is having fun playing on the Fennville varsity basketball team.  The family has been kept busy and entertained attending the games.  The fruit trees are resting and getting their annual trims so they will be ready to produce this next summer.