1946-1966

The war is over! 

After WWII came to an end, George and Dixie moved back from Heart Mountain to Wayland where George took a job as a postal clerk. As a young couple, looking to save their pennies, George & Dixie moved into the second-floor apartment above George’s mother, Olive’s longtime home in Wayland.

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1946  George & Dixie’s first son, Eric Hollis Boller.

It was during those early days of marriage that my oldest brother, Eric Hollis Boller, was born on September 16, 1946.

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Happy first-time homeowners in 1948 in Wayland, Iowa.

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

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1948 William Edward Boller.

On December 3, 1948, Dixie gave birth to my second brother, William Edward Boller, but he had major complications after his birth and 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 buried there.

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1951  Martin Jay Boller.

Some happiness returned to the Boller household on July 10, 1951 when yours truly (Martin Jay Boller) arrived on the scene. That sentence sounds a bit prideful, doesn’t it? But it’s me that’s writing this story, so I can say it if I like, huh?  Apparently, my folks named me after a war-time buddy of theirs at Heart Mountain, a Jewish serviceman named, Martin Levy.

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Christmas, 1951 and 1952.

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. The second shot is of my brother, Eric, and I with Grandma Edie and Grandpa Holly in 1952.

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Marty & Eric and Mom & Dad in the early 1950’s.

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U.S. postal employee, George with his mom, Olive.

Earlier in Our Boller Story we saw how the U.S. Postal Service played a part in determining the name of Wayland, Iowa. By 1955, the post office would again affect the Boller family. After several years of fighting a political system that unfairly denied him an opportunity to advance to the Postmaster position, George left his job in Wayland, taking a series of courses offered by the School of Journalism at The University of Iowa, training to be a printer.

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George & Dixie in 1954.

In a 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.”

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1957 – 1966 George & new work companion: A Linotype.

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.

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It seems 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 Story in America, George Boller would be operating a modernized moveable type printing invention that would have made Johann Gutenberg smile from ear to ear!

George was offered a Linotype operator position with the Mt. Pleasant News in 1955 and by the summer of 1957, when Dixie was offered a teaching position, the Boller family had moved from Wayland to the community of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa located about 25 miles south of Wayland in Henry County.

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Mt. Pleasant, Iowa – our new home.

In the late 1950’s, more and more women were moving away from their homemaker role to jobs outside the home. 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. It probably wasn’t easy on my mother as well!

We lived in Mt. Pleasant for nearly ten years. Other printing opportunities would 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, my father seriously considered saying yes to one of those offers. I believe 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.

And yet another opportunity came knocking. In a letter written by my father, he reminisces:

“Jack Zerbe, owner of the Winfield (Iowa) 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.”

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