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, December 30, 2006

You Never Know Where the Stuff You Write Will End Up

That heading is true, it really is. Take a couple of these blogs, for example, and a contest I entered 10 years ago. The Akron Beacon Journal offered $100 for the best Christmas story and it sounded like easy money, which it proved to be. A few weeks ago I reprinted that story as a blog.
Months before that, however, I wrote another blog about living in a former slave labor barrack at a Focke-Wulf aircraft factory near Nordenham, Germany. That was in late 1945 and early 1946. Nordenham is a small town so what would the odds be that someone living there would read that blog? Astronomical I would have said. I easily could have wagered that hundred bucks and a lot more against it happening. Easy come, easy go - another bet lost.
The gentleman who read it was Peter Puhl, who has mastered the English language. We have corresponded by e-mail ever since and I sent him a few photos from my days as a military policeman there in the months soon after World War II. So Peter read the second blog, the one that earned that hundred bucks, and took it to the newspaper in Nordenham. A woman reporter translated it and the story was published a week ago today, complete with a sidebar and a couple of pictures. It covered the whole top half of a page. Peter mailed us a copy.
Everyone may not agree, but that seems like a strange chain of events to me.
Reminds me of why I decided against embarking on a life of crime. We were staying at the Algonquin Hotel in New York while attending a Mystery Writers of America function in the early 1980s. They do street repairs after dark there and one night they did so outside our window at 2 a.m. It sounded like they kept raising a large sheet of steel high in the air and dropping it to the ground. After a little of this I got up, dressed and went down to the bar. A few minutes later a man several stools away leaned forward so I could see him and said, "You're Dick Stodghill, aren't you?" I admitted it after deciding he didn't look like a bill collector or process server. Turned out he was a professor at Ball State University in Muncie,where I worked for the newspaper.
A year or so later I was sitting in the lobby of the Sheraton Harbor Inn in San Diego when a man walked up and said, "You're Dick Stodghill, aren't you?" Again I admitted as much. The fellow worked for Prentice-Hall publishers and had a relative who had sent him a column I had written. A picture accompanied the column.
New York to San Diego - where could I go to hide out? No wonder Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd had such a tough time of it. Keep this in mind the next time you're thinking of pulling a bank job.

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