1946-1957 – The Wayland Years.

Newly married In Billings, Montana on March 17, 1945, George & Dixie Boller started out their married life in a little apartment – 18-B – at Heart Mountain, Wyoming. With the close of WWII, the couple packed up their belongings and came back home to the Midwest. Even though Dixie was from Trenton, Missouri, I don’t think that George & Dixie ever considered re-locating there. George, of course, was a die-hard Hawkeye, plus his first job offer after the war came from his hometown of Wayland.

My grandmother Olive (Hulme) Boller‘s house at 203 E. Main Street (pictured above) was the logical first home for the Bollers. George’s dad, Waldo, had died prior to the war (November 1941) and Olive’s home had a separate living area with a kitchenette on the second floor.

George, who left school (SUI) when his dad, Waldo, became ill (1940), worked at The Wayland News prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army (1942). Now, in February 1946, The News welcomes my dad back into “the ranks of Wayland business men.”

(S-0038) (S-0040) (P-0002) Stamp collecting was a hobby George’s dad, Waldo, handed down to George, and as you can read here, my dad then handed down to me! So, wouldn’t you know it, George’s first job, after returning from WWII, was serving as postal clerk in Wayland – the best job in the world for a stamp collector! Good timing, too! In August 1946, as Iowa was celebrating its state centennial, the stamp (above) issued for the event was released in George’s adopted home-town, Iowa City!

It was during these early days of living in Wayland that my oldest brother, Eric Hollis Boller, was born on September 16, 1946. Read more here.

By 1948, the Boller family had saved up enough money to move into a tiny three bedroom home just a block off the city square of Wayland – 304 W. Front Street.

On December 3, 1948, Dixie gave birth to my second brother, William Edward Boller, but due to major complications after his birth, Bill died two days later on December 5th. My mother, Dixie, wrote concerning the funeral service:

We brought our little doll home at 12:30 pm and held a private service at 1:30 pm (on Monday, Dec. 6, 1948). Such a one, so pure and God-like, has no place to go except to his own Heaven where it is said the Angels of these little ones view the face of the Almighty eternally. May He rest in peace. We placed his great, great Grandmother Custard’s (Dixie’s family) wedding ring- a tiny yellow gold band with a single ruby setting-on his third finger right hand.

William Edward Boller was buried in North Hill Cemetery, becoming the third generation of Bollers to buried there.

A bluebird of happiness returned to the Boller household on July 10, 1951 when yours truly – Martin Jay Boller – arrived on the scene. Apparently, my folks named me after Martin Levy, one of George’s SUI buddies. Click here for more.

Here are some rare color pics from my first Christmas in Wayland, Iowa, December, 1951. That’s my Grandma Olive and Great Grandma Barbara Boller in the bottom right corner.

Above is my brother, Eric, and me with Grandma Edie and Grandpa Hollie of Trenton, Mo in 1952.

(M-0109) The Wayland Phone Book from 1952 features the Bollers on page 3. The Wayland News reports that George was stepping up his involvement with his home-town community. In March, 1952, he was elected to the Wayland School Board, a position he’d keep until 1957. In September, it looks like he was the head cook for the American Legion’s Hobo breakfast.

1954 – Big 40th Anniversary Dinner for Hollie and Edie Boyer at Nauvoo, Illinois…

When I was in kindergarten (1956-57), one of my buddies was a second-grader named Richard Habegger, the youngest son of Rev. Loris Habegger (see above) – pastor of our Mennonite Church in Wayland. One Saturday morning, when I was playing at Richard’s, he came up with a creative idea. Knowing that his older brother, Arman, had a pretty good stash of cash in his piggy bank, Richard thought it would be appropriate to “borrow” some of that money so we could go shopping for a few new toys. I’m not quite sure why I went along with Richard’s piggy-bank caper but since he was older than me, I figured it was a pretty good way to go on a Saturday-morning shopping spree. So, off we went, with about $20 in hot cash, buying some candy, snacks and other assorted goodies at the local drug store. Everything seemed under control until the shopkeeper grew a bit suspicious of two little kids spending money like there was no tomorrow. Well, the shopkeeper called our parents and the spending spree came to a quick end. I explained that I was just following Richard’s plan and was released on bond. I do wonder whatever became of Richard. Hopefully, he saw the light and this preacher’s kid walked the straight and narrow the remainder of his days.

The SUI Communication Center opened in 1953 and housed the School of Journalism and The Daily Iowan offices. It’s here, George would have taken some of his 17-week training beginning in the fall of 1954.

After several years of fighting a political system that unfairly denied him an opportunity to advance to the Postmaster position, George left his job at the Wayland Post Office, taking a series of courses offered by the School of Journalism at SUI, training to be a printer.

Prior to the days of computerized printing techniques, all newspapers and printing work was done by hand, using lines of text cast in hot lead (see pics above). Since George was learning the newspaper production business from the ground up, the key piece of “cutting-edge” machinery he needed to master was the Linotype – a massive contraption that produced a “line-of-type” in molten lead (watch video below).

As the name implies, the Linotype is a machine that produces a solid “line of type” made from molten lead. Introduced about 1886, it was used for generations by newspapers and general printers. It is a one-man machine: the operator sits in front with the copy to be set at the top of the keyboard. Having adjusted the machine for the required point size and line length, and the molten lead heated to the correct temperature (about 550 degrees Fahrenheit), he commences typing in his copy. The Linotype then drops small pieces of brass (in which the characters or dies are stamped) into a single line of text, which is then cast into a single line of type that is then used in assembling entire printed pages of a newspaper.

In the 1950’s, SUI’s School of Journalism assembled and printed The Daily Iowan newspaper in the basement of Close Hall (see pics below). So, over those 17-weeks of training, my dad would have spent a lot of his time training on a Linotype machine here. Click here to read more about Close Hall.

It seems so interesting to me that in earlier generations, the Boller family came from the printing capital of the entire world, Mainz, Germany (home of Johann Gutenberg)…and now in our fifth generation in Our Boller Story, George Boller would be learning to operate a modernized moveable type printing invention that would have made Johann Gutenberg smile from ear to ear!

In the Boller’s 1954 Christmas letter, Dixie writes:

Since George is to be a printer soon, we are giving him good practice on these ’54 Christmas notes. This year finds George studying hard five days a week at SUI, learning Linotype operation. He resigned his post office job in September and will be through the 17-week course at Iowa City in early February. From there, we will follow our noses; however, we are glad to be out of the political wrangling necessary to advance in Civil Service.

After graduating from his coursework at SUI, George apparently followed his nose to a linotype operator job with The Mt. Pleasant News. Mt. Pleasant, the county seat of Henry County, is located about twenty miles south east of Wayland, so as the Boller family continued living in Wayland, George did his daily trek for the next two years (1955-1957). At that point, George & Dixie decided that it was finally time for the family to make the big move to the big city.

George Boller is New Postal Clerk, The Wayland News, February 7, 1946, p 1

Short Services For Boller Infant, The Wayland News, December 9, 1948, p 1

Bollers & Boyers, The Wayland News, May 17, 1951, p 3

George Boller Elected to School Board, The Wayland News, March 13, 1952, p 1

George Boller, American Legion Hobo Breakfast, The Wayland News, September 4, 1952, p 1

Habegger, Loris (1918-2009), Mennonite Weekly Review obituary: November 9, 2009, p 9

LinoType-The Film

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