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, March 24, 2007

Even If You Survive, Time Catches Up with You

No matter what war they served in most combat soldiers, particularly infantrymen, have memories of their own Band of Brothers. The title of that HBO series seems to express a universal feeling among those men, a feeling others who didn't shared the experience can't quite understand. There is a closeness that is different than that of any other bond.
My own Band, like all those dating back to World War II, is rapidly shrinking. A reminder of that came a few days ago when I sent the obit for Joe Medeiros to our platoon sergeant, Eddie Wolfe. Over the years I have written a great deal about Eddie. He was the bravest soldier I knew, the man I have always admired above all others. Had it not been for him I would not have written these words or any other words, ever.
Whenever I first think of Eddie a vivid picture flashes through my mind. He is running across an open field, zigging and zagging because German SS riflemen are firing at him. Eddie is running to the rear because our company commander has been mortally wounded and there are no medics with us. Eddie has set out to find them, bring them forward.
Other brave men might have done so because many were present. Only Eddie Wolfe did it. That was Eddie's way. Do what was needed. Don't wait to be told, don't waste time analyzing the situation, don't wait around for someone else to make a move, just do it.
Eddie was a hero but he never thought of himself as one. After seeing the book "Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War" he wrote: "I am flattered to be among the people you wrote about but somehow you made me out a hero when in truth I was just doing what I was taught to do in combat. Stodg, the truth is I was just as scared of dying as the next guy."
Of course he was. Had he not been his actions would not have been heroic.
Eddie Wolfe is old now, eighty-eight. Like the rest of us old guys he has been having problems. After receiving Joe's obit he wrote:
Stodg, Lately I have a lot of thoughts of my time with G Company and some of the guys in our little Band of Brothers in Hdq. Platoon. Time has erased most pictures of who was whom, but little Joey and you and a couple of others comes to mind. So now another has passed on, and time shortens for all of us. I am thankful that Joey made it for a long life, and that you and I have also done the same. So we have had our ups and downs. aches and pains, we are still around. Several months ago for an up and at 'em guy I had trouble breathing, shortness of breath, and losing weight. I went to a cardiologist and got the bad news. I had a heart problem. All kind of tests, short time in the hospital, and my life has changed. No lifting. No caffeine (my coffee now decaf. How can I wake up in the morning?). I am on medication, have gotten back to my old self, but some of the pleasures of life are gone. For a while my three daughters (all live in the area) made me feel like an invalid. They took out the trash, drove me around (my wife stopped driving), made certain that I did no heavy lifting, and had plenty of reading material just to take it easy. All in all I am blessed with my family. I hope you have done well with your book. I looked you up on the Web, and you certainly had a life. Thanks for keeping in touch, hope you are well so good night Stodg, and keep in touch.

I will, Eddie. As long as time allows.

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