Friday, March 8, 2013

Bill’s Early Working Years in Waterloo

Quincy College (now university)
After getting out of the navy in March of 1946, he returned to Quincy where he made use of the GI Bill and enrolled at Quincy College.  He and mom would marry a little more than a year later on May 30, 1947. They married at St. Francis Catholic Church and their reception was in the backyard of Great Aunt Irene and Uncle Elmer Schutte. Aunt Irene was my maternal grandfather’s sister. There was a film taken at that wedding with mom doing some fancy knife work as I recall. I wish that film were still around, but I fear it is lost to history. They were living at student housing at Quincy College when I came along on March 8, 1948. Aunt Martha regales in telling stories of babysitting me; I am certain that some of this will come up in Staci’s “My Funny Family” blog <>. So, I will skip over that! After dad graduated from college, they moved to Waterloo. Mom had lived in Waterloo since 1936, when grandpa had moved here for a job. Mom came back often and spent summers in Quincy. We have asked around but have never learned about how mom and dad actually met. We are kind of wondering if the Schell boys hung around with the Schutte boys-- they all had about the same kind of sense of humor. That certainly could have been how they met for the first time, but, again, that’s another fact lost to history.

When they moved back to Waterloo, they lived with mom’s parents out in Sherwood Park. Dad said he would NEVER live in the Park, but mom related in some notes she left that after a few floods, he became a true “river rat”. He would sit on the front porch and shoot at bottles and cans as they floated by. He worked as an assistant manger at the Paramount Theater in downtown Waterloo. I’m not
Downtown Waterloo by Sears, 1940s
sure how long he was there, but he then went to work at Sears. He would eventually get a chance to apply at Waterloo Corrugated Box Co., where he wound up working for the rest of his life. We don’t know the circumstances of why he went there, but when a couple of the owners of the company, John Ewers and Jim McLaughlin, found out that he was from Quincy, they took an immediate liking to him. John and Jim were originally from Keokuk, just up the Mississippi River from Quincy. He started there in 1952 and became a sample maker.

This is a good place to break. I’ll finish his story in the next blog. Then it will be on to tell about the ancestors I have found. One who nearly didn’t make it here alive. One who had an encounter with a famous American author. And one who was on Sherman’s march through Georgia in the Civil War. Stay tuned!

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