Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Cleaning Pots and Pans with Mickey Rooney

Few soldiers ever looked at an Army bulletin board without groaning when they saw their name on the KP list for the next day. Worse yet was reporting to the mess hall at 4 o'clock in the morning and being told you were on pots and pans, the most miserable of all possible assignments.

It happened to me when I reported to the 10th Replacement Depot near Birmingham, England after enjoying a week's furlough in London. That was the first step in getting back to my unit. The 10th Repple Depple was a notorious place, a filthy hole with a commander and a group of his military policemen that enjoyed beating up on people. Some of them were brought up on charges but that came long after I was there.

So I wasn't beat up but I was put on KP at the greasiest, dirtiest of all Army mess halls. On top of that I was handed the job of scrubbing pots and pans. I was scrubbing away when I heard a commotion behind me but didn't bother to look around until a bird colonel shoved me away from the sink. This was not an everyday occurrence in a mess hall so I turned and saw more top brass than I had ever seen in one place. Among them, if you looked down a little, was Pvt. Mickey Rooney. This was another first, the first time I had seen a movie star in person.

I had been unceremoniously pushed aside so that Mickey could roll up his sleeves, pick up the pot I had been working on and mug for the many photographers in his entourage. The idea, of course, was to show the folks back home that Mickey Rooney was just like any other Army private - up to his elbow in filth. No special treatment for movie stars, not in this man's Army.

When the photographers were satisfied, Mickey rolled his sleeves back down, turned and left with the officers falling over themselves trying to be the closest to him. Good old Mickey, he hadn't even bother to hand the unfinished pot back to me.

Late in the day those of us on KP had to interrupt our work to join a formation of men standing out in the rain. It was Mickey again, but he and the officers were standing in the arched entryway of a building. We were wet, they were dry. And having to go outside like that meant we fell behind in our chores and had to work even later than usual.

Good old Mickey Rooney. What fond memories I have of him. Just one of the boys, that was Mickey all the way.

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