State Representative comes to dinner (Original Boomerang for January 27, 1924)


Original Boomerang for January 27, 1924

The biggest news in this issue of the original Boomerang is that the Eno household has had a state representative for dinner! The personage was from Sheffield (now in connection to whom have we heard that town mentioned before? hmmmm!). The representative was none other than Heike Rust (pictured below)! The Boomerang Man goes on to name the other guests: “Mrs. Heike Rust and Heike’s brother Orville–the last named being our Betty’s best friend.” (He may be more than that soon!) After reporting the dinner menu, the Boomerang Man notes, “Everything went off nicely and down satisfactorily.” Upon reading this report, Heike’s nephew wondered if the purpose of the event was for the guests to scrutinize their hosts or the other way around?


Heike represented Franklin County in the Iowa State House of Representatives from 1923-1927. Read more about him at this site here.

Wintry activities (Original Boomerang for January 13, 1924)


Original Boomerang, January 13, 1924

The Boomerang Man begins this issue of the original Boomerang with a tongue-in-cheek nostalgic description of the wintry weather, including a question that caught my eye, “why were we tempted to roam?” I learned a song with that line in it in Girl Scouts; could it have been around in 1924? Why yes! It seems, according to this site here, that “Sweet Sunny South” was written sometime in the nineteenth century. Find complete lyrics on the same site (there’s also a more readable version here), and find a nice recording here.

In other news in this issue, the Pumphreys are roaming to the “far east”–all the way to Staten Island! That will be a change! Meanwhile, back home in Des Moines, Betty has just played the role of Violet in the Doublet and Hose Club’s production of Mrs Bumpstead-Leigh. Here’s what the Oxford Companion to American Theater says about this play, which was written in 1911.

a comedy by Harry James Smith. [Lyceum Theatre, 64 perf.] Mrs. Bumpstead‐Leigh (Mrs. Fiske) returns from a long sojourn in England to continue her triumphant social rise. What many of her fawning friends do not know is that she is an impostor, none other than Della Sales of Missionary Loop, Indiana, and the daughter of a man who made his fortune selling quack medicines. She travels with her mother, who is now called Mrs. de Salle (Florine Arnold), and her sister, Viola (Kathlene MacDonell), for whom she is determined to make a proper match. Her world is threatened by the appearance of bumptious Peter Swallow (Henry E. Dixey), who had been her suitor years before. But Mrs. Bumpstead‐Leigh had not come all this way for nothing. She convinces Peter he is mistaken and finds the right man for Viola. This delightfully contrived farce, produced by her husband Harrison Grey Fiske, was one of the versatile Mrs. Fiske’s biggest successes.

Sounds good! And I think we can assume that the character called Viola is the one Fred Eno calls Violet. It seems that Betty did a lot of acting!

This issue also includes news of Enola and Eula — Eula has been in China now for more than a year!

Betty is engaged! (Original Boomerang for December 30, 1923)


Original Boomerang, December 30, 1923

The big story in this issue of the original Boomerang (though buried in its second column) is that our Betty Rust is officially engaged to Orville Rust, “a Des Moines University athlete,” as the Boomerang Man puts it. Hurray! And the rest is history … which will show that the wedding happened quite a bit sooner than here predicted — stay tuned!

The nominal lead story, “Christmas in Indianola,” is also of interest for its census of Mary (“Mamma”) Eno’s side of the family. The festivities were held at the Hasties’s home, and all of their “immediate family” are present, beginning–as the Boomerang man lists them–with the heads of the household, Alex and Louie (née Loper, sister of Mary), and running through their children in birth order: Wilhma, Helen, Herbert, and Bernice (plus Helen’s spouse Horace). The other family in attendance is headed by Leslie Loper (Samuel Leslie, brother of Mary, not to be confused with Lincoln Leslie, his son), his wife Clare, and five of their six children (plus offspring and spouses): Alice, Edith, June, Ardis, and Mabel. The missing child is Lincoln. He was last mentioned in the original Boomerang back in March of last year (1922), when it was reported that he was taking steps towards possibly resettling up north in Wisconsin (read that issue of the original Boomerang in this post here). So that probably explains his not being in Indianola for Christmas dinner.

Otherwise: Nine passengers in the car for the ride back to Des Moines — wow!



New addition to family history library ~


I See the Town, by Betty Ruth Pumphrey

Before explaining the book featured in this photo, I should mention that commentary on the most recent issue of the original Boomerang is now available! Scroll down or click here. As readers will know, that issue led with the exciting news of the Boomerang Man’s first grandchild Betty Ruth Pumphrey having arrived (along with her mother Gladice) for a visit. After reading that issue myself, I learned that Betty Ruth had a publication, quickly found a copy online … which arrived today (it’s even signed!). The book is a collection of short essays Betty Ruth wrote for a column entitled “I See the Town” that ran first in the Gainesville Sun and later in the Auburn (Alabama) Bulletin. As the dust jacket’s inside flaps explain, Betty Ruth had a particular perspective from which she saw those towns: from the seat of a motorized wheelchair. Those health problems alluded to in the commentary on the original Boomerang just mentioned? As the dust-jacket flaps explain …

The author [Betty Ruth] was born in Wichita,  Kansas in 1923. It was soon learned that she had a physical handicap as result of a birth injury. Through exercise and therapy she learned to walk with the aid of a walker and to use a typewriter with the index finger of her left hand.

The biography goes on to report that Betty Ruth went to school at the Neurological Institute in New York City, the Gamma Hospital School in Michigan, and eventually took courses at the University of Florida. Where does the newspaper column come in? The bio continues …

An electrically propelled motor chair made it possible for her to ride about the neighborhood and visit with old friends and make many new friends. At her mother’s suggestion she started to write about her visits and the little incidents she observed. The column entitled ‘I SEE THE TOWN’ became a popular feature of the Gainesville Sun. When the family moved to Auburn where her father had accepted the Deanship of Engineering, she continued with a similar column in the Auburn Bulletin.

The book also includes a photo of Betty Ruth in her “motor chair.”


Motor Chair

And here’s a sample story from the book, one that features the motor chair!


From: I See the Town

Introducing Betty Ruth (Original Boomerang for December 2, 1923)


Original Boomerang, December 2, 1923

The top story in this issue of the original Boomerang announces the arrival of “Mother Gladice Eno Pumphrey” along with her newborn daughter Betty Ruth — Mama and the Boomerang Man’s first grandchild (more are on the way)! Very exciting! Betty Ruth was born on October 15, 1923 in Wichita, so at the time of this issue, she’s about six weeks old. Despite the Boomerang Man’s assertion that baby Betty Ruth is healthy, she went on to face serious health challenges in her life … with lots of grace. Stay tuned for more on that!

California dreaming (Original Boomerang for November 25, 1923)


Original Boomerang, November 25, 1923

If the top story of this Thanksgiving issue of the original Boomerang sounds familiar, it does for a good reason: the Boomerang Man was raving about the California weather of last year’s Thanksgiving too (check it out here)! In this issue, his suggestion that “our west coast relatives” should come enjoy Iowa’s “California weather” is also caught my eye because it harkens back to the Riddle of the Numerous Imles, which was finally sorted out in this message here of just over a year ago. In the issue discussed in that post (from January 21, 1923), the Boomerang Man mentioned “Uncle Im, Rufus, and all of our California members of the Eno tribe.” Who were all of these California members, one wonders? One wonders especially because research being conducted on the Gold Rush has uncovered an Eno–Henry Eno–who went out to California in 1849 and stayed there. Curiously, he was born almost the same year as the senior-most Imle (that Imle was born in 1797, Henry in 1798), and they were both born in New York. Henry had no known children, but his brother William (born in 1800) had a son named (drum roll … ) Rufus! Not the Rufus mentioned in the original Boomerang of January 1923, though; that Rufus is likely the one born in 1860; William’s son was born in 1845. It seems like there must be some familial connection between them though … ? We’ll see if any more clues are uncovered!

Back to Thanksgiving of 1923, the Boomerang Man has just had a birthday, and it sounds like he is feeling well feted … a good distraction for the current uncertainty about the future of Talbott and Eno!