This page is under construction. The following three audio players contain interviews of Dwight Bolinger by his son, Bruce, in September and October 1991. Brief references to the subjects of Dwight’s memories will be added below each link to aid in finding topics of interest.
- At age six, he acquired his first bike and collided with a heavy set woman and car. He always had a love of bicycling. His longest bicycle ride was from Topeka to Kansas City. He also went for long bicycle ride in the hills when living at Palo Alto. To him, bicycling represented freedom.
- His first experience driving was his uncle’s Model T in Colorado. His first car owned was a Model A Ford in Madison, followed by a Chevy which had four flats. He had no car during WWII. A Crosley came after the war, then a Plymouth, and, lastly, a 1962 Rambler which he was still using in 1991.
- Music. Earliest memories were listening to his mother Gertrude play when he was 3, 4, or 5. She played both piano and organ. Played organ at Christian Science Church. Music by Grieg still moves him the most.
- Life on the farm near Stover, MO. His father (AJ) went bankrupt trying to farm. Dwight stirred up a wasp’s nest and set a tree on fire. Dwight’s duties were to get up at 4 a.m. to feed the pigs. One such morning he had the experience of seeing fireball. They lived on the farm from 1919-1921. AJ may have taken up farming because the farm was owned by a neighbor, Ulysses Grant Mason, who owed him money.
- While teaching at the Lindloff School, Dwight lived in an attic room at the Mason farm, rooming with Gregor Lefevor, another teacher. To qualify to teach following high school graduation, he had to take an exam administered by the county superintendent of schools. He remembered an exam question about the care of pigs which he answered to the satisfaction of the superintendent.
- He taught at the one-room Lindloff School south of Stover, Missouri at a salary of $400 per year (equivalent to $5700 in 2018). He had a four-mile round trip walk to school from the Mason farm. Served as janitor and corrections officer as well as teacher. He pumped water for the school or went to a spring for water on the other side of the creek. For fuel to heat the school stove, he gathered armfuls of branches of dead sumac. The countryside at that time was denuded by cutting of trees for railroad ties.
- His only pet was “Teddy,” a little black and white Scottish terrier which died from a neighbor’s rat poison. His grandparents had no pets when he was living with them. His stepmother had “Sweeny,” a white tabby in Kansas City.
- During his first two years in high school he divided his time between his two sets of grandparents. When his grandfather Hamilton Ott died, he spendt his last two years with his grandmother Ott in Springfield, Ohio.
- His great-grandfather, William Bolinger’s house had a dirt floor basement and a pump in the kitchen for pumping water from a cistern fed by rain water. The addresses of his two sets of grandparents are noted.
- His grandfather, Hamilton Ott, preached sermons at a church in Topeka. E.F.A. Reinisch, after whom the Reinisch Rose Garden at Gage Park is named, brought surplus flowers every Sunday to Ott’s Lutheran Church.
- Great-grandfather William Bolinger was in the piano business in Topeka. He had tried various ways to make a living, including being a tinner, but was never very successful at anything.
- Dwight remembered how his father, AJ Bolinger, broke the news to him on his grandparents’ front porch that his mother had died and remembered crying.
- AJ Bolinger remarried and moved to Kansas City. After initially staying with his grandparents in Topeka, Dwight joined his father and stepmother in the Marlborough suburb of Kansas City. He lived there two years. He was a lonely child. He remembered playing in the open cellar of a destroyed house and in a nearby grove of trees, using weeds to represented the Roman and Gaulish armies.
- He had memories of Gage Park in Topeka both from when he was a boy and, later, when he took his son, Bruce, to the park on the handlebars of his bike.
- He never learned to swim properly, never having had any lessons. He only learned how to do the side stroke.
- His father, AJ, was a member of a firm of attorneys in Kansas City specializing in railroad lawsuits. They moved to the farm near Stover when he was about 11 years old. He attended 7th and 8th grades while on the farm.
To listen to Dwight play two of his piano compositions, click below. The first begins at about 0:10 and ends at about 1:41. The second begins at about 1:56 and ends at about 4:42. The volume is controlled by the speaker symbol on the right.