Most of this story takes place in northeastern Iowa, where we find the towns of Maynard and Oelwein and Madison, WI. Maynard and Oelwein are small and rural and greatly shaped the lives of the people in our story. Madison was a thriving college town that became the home of our protagonists.
Just as important as the physical locations are the environment of girls’ sports in the 1950s, which was still an emerging and evolving one. What makes the story so captivating is that many of the themes in the 1950s hold true today.
Allow us to help set the scene for you….
Girls’ Sports in the 1950s
Girls’ sports in the 1950’s were very different than what we know today. It was not nearly as common for girls to participate in sports and, in fact, some experts questioned whether girls could safely participate in sports at all. Some felt that too much physical activity for girls could lead to illness or death. In addition, the US Congress had not yet enacted Title IX, which mandated equal opportunities for both boys and girls in school sports. Thus, Iowa girls’ basketball was unusual in its popularity both among players and spectators.
- Maynard – Maynard is a very small town. In the 1950s, it wasn’t big enough to have a traffic light. Main Street was only about a block long and the town had the bare essentials of what constituted a town: a gas station, a diner, a couple of bars, a bank, a school and a park. The Volga River, one of the very few rivers in North America that flows from south to north, runs through the town. The town was like many others around it .
- Oelwein – Oelwein is eight miles south of Maynard and is the biggest town in Iowa’s Fayette County. It is home to approximately 6,400 people. From the 1930’s through the 1950’s, the town served as a significant railroad hub. Glenn Borland Sr. was a foreman for the railroad.