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In the summer of 1955, after a sojourn of six months in sunny California, my wife Donna and I were on our way back to Iowa traversing the venerable old east-west Highway 30. In just two and a half days of intensive dawn-to-dusk driving, we crossed over the wide Missouri at Omaha and rolled through Council Bluffs, Iowa.

Our eyes feasted on the brilliant beauty of gently flowing hills, green pastures and corn fields spread out before us like a giant patchwork quilt blanketing Iowa’s verdant landscape. We reveled in breathing as we deeply inhaled the familiar sweet smell of new mown hay which penetrated our car even with the windows tightly rolled up to keep out the good old Iowa summer heat. Outside, the blistering temperature was approaching 90 degrees.

All the way across Iowa, we felt a divine peace as we pictured, in our hearts and minds, a joyous homecoming with our parents. When we pulled into Donna’s folk’s driveway, they spotted our sea green Ford through their kitchen window and burst out to greet us. Quickly, Donna bounded out of the car, raced to her father and fervently embraced him. I gave Anna a warm hug and Earl a firm handshake. Later, we had a happy reunion with my mom and dad in Waverly. It was good to be home and for a couple of days, as we basked in the warmth of being with our families.


But, as pleasant as all that was, I knew I faced reality. I had work to do. During the nearly 3,000-mile journey from California to Iowa, I had time to think about what direction I should take with my license to practice law in Iowa. Clearly, I knew my first step was to visit with Dr. Tollefson, Dean of Drake Law School in Des Moines, to see what might be available. It was the right thing to do.

When I walked into his office, both his friendly secretary and the kindly Dean, warmly welcomed me back to Drake and to Iowa. I had a good feeling about our meeting. “Tolly”, as we affectionately called the good Dean, got right to the point, and with a big smile said, “I have just the right position for you. It’s with an outstanding law firm in Marshalltown – one of the best in Iowa. I want to wholeheartedly recommend you for it.”

It couldn’t have been more simple nor more timely. An interview was arranged, an was offer made and a month later, on Sept. 1, I was set up in my office as an associate of the Boardman, Cartwright and Druker Law Firm. Boardman, the firm’s founder, was deceased, and the two active partners, Harold Cartwright and Harry Druker, each had their specialties. Cartwright, almost exclusively, handled corporate matters for virtually all the Marshalltown manufacturers including Fisher Governor, Lennox, Kiowa, Marshalltown Manufacturing, Cooper, Bigelow-Liptak and Marshalltown Trowell. Druker’s forte was representing some 45 different insurance companies defending them against auto liability claims.

Now, as a practicing lawyer in Iowa, I have many interesting tales to tell.

John Culbertson is a Waverly native and has written a memoir called “Along the Way.” He can be reached at 319-483-5192.