When his new job as linotype operator with the Mt. Pleasant News opened up in the spring of 1955, I’m not sure if George & Dixie Boller envisioned moving away from Wayland, but apparently by the summer of 1957, when Dixie was offered a new teaching position as well, the Boller family decided it was time for the big move, relocating to Mt. Pleasant, about 25 miles south of Wayland in Henry County.
(P-0094) The Boller home town from 1957 – 1966. The Boller 1957 Christmas letter explains a lot of the big transitions that occurred in this eventful year.
George had served as Secretary on the Wayland School Board since 1952, so leaving Wayland meant resigning from that position, plus the Bollers needed to sell their little home on Front Street. Not sure what price it went for but apparently by mid-summer Mr. & Mrs. Roger McGuire purchased the home.
During the summer of 1957, 407 East Henry Street became our new home – offering the Boller family a huge increase of living space as compared to our little house back in Wayland. This two-story house was built right after the Civil War (1860’s), so it was nearly one-hundred years old when we lived there!
William Hollis Boyer, Dixie’s father, living in Trenton, Missouri, suddenly took ill and died in late June, 1957. Read more about the Boyers here.
(P-0143) Mt. Pleasant Elementary/Jr. High School.
In 1957, my mother, Dixie, returned to her love of teaching, taking the 7th grade English/Reading teaching position at Mt. Pleasant Jr. High. Suffice to say that having your mother as your teacher for 7th grade English was a challenge for both my brother, Eric, and me. But, in all honesty, it probably wasn’t easy on my mother as well!
By the late fall of ’57, with the new teaching job combined with all the other stressors, Dixie was admitted to the hospital in Mt. Pleasant, suffering with pneumonia. Thank goodness, she recovered fairly quickly, and the Bollers were back on track, making Mt. Pleasant our new home.
(P-0144) After many generations of being Mennonites, George became the first Boller to leave the fold when we moved to Mt. Pleasant. It’s interesting how this change happened. When George & Dixie returned to Wayland after the war, they became faithful members of the Mennonite Church in Wayland. Yet, when the move to Mt. Pleasant occurred in 1957, mom and dad said they simply didn’t feel the Mennonite Church in Mt. Pleasant was a good fit. My mom had grown up in the Methodist Church, but the final decision was made when George and Dixie remembered that the “nice pastor” who married them in Billings, Montana was a Presbyterian pastor. That remembrance led the Bollers to visit First Presbyterian and from that day forward to their dying days in Iowa City, George & Dixie became Presbyterians and never turned back.
My older brother Eric excelled in sports in Mt. Pleasant. Like most young boys, Eric played Little League Baseball. Here are two pics from 1958 (above) and 1959 (below) with Eric, his Bentlers Texaco team, and coach George. In 1959, does that batboy looks familiar?
Yup, that’s me with my baritone, playing in the Mt. Pleasant Elementary School Band. For more about my interest in music and the arts – click here.
(Below) We can’t leave out dear old Buster – our Boston Terrier and for a short season – Sugar Poot – our parakeet!
While the Bollers lived in Mt. Pleasant for nearly ten years (1957-1966), other printing opportunities would occasionally come and go for my father, but he just didn’t feel that any of them offered the right situation for him and his family. I remember one cold winter in Mt. Pleasant (probably around 1963-64), my father seriously considered saying yes to one of those offers. It was a newspaper job in Arvada, Colorado. Since some of my mother’s relatives lived in the Denver area, I believe we came within an eyelash of doing it…but no, my father decided it just wasn’t right.
I also recall around 1964 that there was a printing operation in Kansas City that expressed interest, but once again, my dad’s answer was no. Closer to home, opportunity came knocking around this same time from a local newspaper – The Winfield Beacon. In a letter written by my father, George reminisces:
“Jack Zerbe, owner of the Winfield Beacon…tried his best to convince me to buy it (the newspaper operation). Although I certainly wasn’t getting rich at the Mt. Pleasant News–I really didn’t think I wanted to take on the hard work and long hours required to operate a good weekly paper. Never sorry that I turned it down.”
But, despite turning down numerous printing opportunities, the one that did finally capture my dad’s attention was one that would allow him to go “back home.” No – not Wayland – but his adopted home – Iowa City and The University of Iowa.
So, in the fall of 1965, dad started his new job with The Daily Iowan, and once again, he hit the road. Between November of ’65 and when we finally moved to Iowa City in June 1966, George made the daily drive between Mt. Pleasant and Iowa City, driving the 50-mile-trip on old Highway 218 even through the hard winter of ’65/’66.
Our church home in Mt. Pleasant was First Presbyterian Church. In April 1965, our church family celebrated its 125th anniversary!
Sadly, on December 30, 1965, just as we were spending our last Christmas season in Mt. Pleasant, our beloved church building caught fire and was totally destroyed. We lived only a few blocks from the church, and I remember standing outside that cold December evening, watching the brave firemen doing their best to strike the fire. A hopeless cause, the building was a total loss, but amazingly, the one item left completely untouched was the fully-decorated live Christmas tree standing near the church altar!
(M-0130) This silver spoon came from my Grandmother Olive‘s collection.
Mt. Pleasant News – 10 misc. Boller-related stories (below):