1950-1966 – The Childhood Years.

Allow me to introduce to you – Martin Jay Boller and Sandra Elaine (Unrue) Boller.

The first part of our story begins in Warsaw – located in the central section of northern Indiana.

Sandra Elaine Unrue was born to Jack & LaVonne Unrue – their first child – on April 18, 1950 in Warsaw, Indiana. As the story goes, all of Sandy’s first birthday pictures (April 18, 1951) were lost, so when her cousin, Shelley, had her first birthday in July 1951, Sandy was plopped in front of the cake (see below) so we’d all have some kind of 1st birthday picture to look at!

At about that same time Sandy was sitting in front of that “first-birthday” cake, and 350 miles to the west (see above), the second piece of our story came together when Martin Jay Boller was born on July 10, 1951 to George & Dixie Boller of Wayland, Iowa.

The Bollers’ third child, I was named for Martin Levy – a Jewish friend of my dad’s when they both served in the Army during WWII (1942-1945).

Sandy & I have very similar childhood memories, growing up in middle-class, Mid-Western homes of the 1950’s & 60’s. Society calls our generation the baby boomers. When World War II ended, most young American men & women, like my parents, returned home from war, married, and began building their families.

You can see (above) how proud we Bollers were, as a family, to have a new black-and-white television console, and a wall telephone with a separate phone number. Until direct dial phones like this came into being, we had to go through an operator who would place our calls for us! Our phone number in Mt. Pleasant was 332-Red, and for the first few years (1957-1960) we shared a “party-line” – meaning one phone line was shared amongst several neighbors. Heaven help you if you had a chatty neighbor who would tie up the line for hours! Oh, and as for calling long distance – it was a strict ‘no-no’ back in the day, because it would cost an arm-and-a-leg and was only to be used in dire emergencies.

1504 E. Center Street in Warsaw (as it appears today – above left). Sadly, the big front porch has been enclosed, but Sandy and her sister, Janice’s upstairs bedroom window still overlooks Center Street. Warsaw and Kosciusko County is the home to numerous lakes, including the well-known Winona Lake, home of the famous evangelist of the early 20th century, Billy Sunday. Sandy’s fondest memories of Warsaw include countless summer days splashing, picnicing, and swimming at many of these beautiful Indiana lakes. Click here to read more about the Unrue family.

304 W. Front Street in Wayland, as you can see (above), is a very small house – but the Boller family – George, Dixie, Eric, Marty, and our Boston Terrier, Buster, (see below) made it our home from 1951-1957. Click here to read more about our Wayland years.

Both Sandy and I have many fond childhood memories of growing up in our middle-western, family-friendly church communities where potluck suppers, Christmas pageants, choirs & confirmation were the norm. Both of us fell in love with Jesus in those earliest days of our lives.

The Unrue family moved from Warsaw to Goshen, Indiana in 1960, and while they lived there for only two years, some of Sandy’s fondest childhood memories come from this beautiful home located at 1512 S. 8th Street (see above as pictured today), near Goshen College.

In the summer of 1957, the Bollers made the big move from Wayland to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. The two-story home located at 407 E. Henry Street (above right) became our new home from 1957 to 1966. Click here to read more about our Mt. Pleasant years.

My older brother Eric – was the cool dude with the MPHS letter jacket. Me? A bit less cool, but I did catch more fish than he did on our summer vacation to Yellowstone Park in 1963!

In 1960, I received my first Bible for my confirmation (above) and that same year – in fourth grade – began my writing career with short pieces like the ones above!

Yup, that’s me and my baritone – all dressed up in full uniform – ready for one of my first band concerts. For more about my interest in music and the arts – click here.

Above are some rare pictures of our last Boller family Christmas in Mt. Pleasant (1965) before moving to Iowa City (June 1966).

In 2016, The Bollers re-visted a few of our childhood memories. One stop included Mt. Pleasant’s Jr. High School where my mom, Dixie Boller, taught 7th grade Reading from 1957-1966. She had both my brother, Eric, and I in her class, and I’m not sure who had the harder assignment with all that? My brother? Me? Or, my mom? Click here for more.

Here’s Sandy at her childhood home in Goshen, Indiana in 2021 (left), and Eric and me at our two childhood homes in Wayland and Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.

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