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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Thursday, May 24, 2007

My Communist Aunt - Now Featured in a New Book

I never met my Aunt Helen for the simple reason that she renounced all family ties two years before I was born. She did this in a way that fell a few miles short of being considerate. In a letter to her father she said it was because, "I love only Helen Lynch."
Granted, her father could never have been described as warm and cuddly, but he deserved better than that. To his friends and business acquaintances J.T. Lynch was an outgoing, friendly super salesman. With his family he was a martinet. Among other behavior he demanded strict adherance to the Catholic faith. This was drummed into him as a child when his mother forced him to sleep on his back with his arms folded in the sign of the cross.
His reward? Not one of his five children followed that or any other religion as adults. To his horror, two married people that were divorced and two were divorced themselves. To cap it all off, Helen became a Communist. J.T. Lynch surely must have wondered where he went wrong.
The lives of his other children were, to say the least, colorful. Two were innocently involved with Chicago gangsters during the 1920s, a time when aside from selling bootleg hooch their favorite pastime was gunning each other down on the streets. Another's third marriage was to an officer, a pilot, in the Dutch air force. He was killed during Indonesia's war to gain independence. The youngest of the brood married a star athlete and was the mother of a son who gained even greater fame because of his athletic prowess.
But back to Helen. Although a bit on the wild side as a youngster (a trait shared by her three sisters and big brother) she was a devoted church-goer who spent a year at St. Mary's Academy in South Bend, a school that later became part of Notre Dame. She kept a diary while there (it's in the book) and a reader quickly gains the impression she was not a favorite of the nuns. She was forced to finish her high school days at Muncie High and this was most displeasing to her. She found many ways of making this clear to her father.
Then came four years at the University of Michigan, where she became the leader of aesthetic girls who formed "The Group Mind." Among other things they scorned humanitarianism, a trait that hardly went along with Helen's later activities. She was considered a gifted writer, however, but again she had no use for readers among the vulgar, humanitarian herd. In other words she was a high-brow, an unrelenting snob.
Following graduation she headed for New York, fully expecting to take the literary world by storm. In order to survive, of course, the publishing business depends upon sales to the very people she despised. Her writing career never got off the ground. For years she supported herself as best she could, at the same time demanding cash from the father she supposedly had disowned.
Then came a remarkable turnaround in her life as she watched a demonstration in support of the unemployed. Things must have gotten a bit out of hand because a policeman gave her a nasty conk on the head with his billy club. Never one to take such a thing in stride, she devoted the rest of her life to fighting City Hall, and that included the police. She was arrested and thrown in jail at least 30 times. Along the way somewhere she joined the Communist Party. There is no doubt that she did brilliant work in assisting New York's poor and the unemployed during the Great Depression. At the age of 37 she died of pneumonia contracted during a demonstration that included camping out at the base of the Washington Monument. More than 5,000 people attended her funeral.
But why did she cut herself off from her family years before her Communist activities? Hey, I don't work for free, you know. Buy the book and find out.

You won't learn anything about Communism, but visit www.dickstodghill.com

1 Comments:

Blogger Mimi said...

Fascinating! All families have at least one black sheep, don't they?

On the other side of the coin, I have a Wobbly hunter in one of my offshoot lines. He later became CEO of Union Carbide. His nephew is a liberal emeritus professor. Go figure.

10:38 AM  

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