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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Monday, December 24, 2007

The True Spirit of Christmas in 1945


This morning I received a Merry Christmas email from Peter Puhl in Nordenham, Germany. I was there at Christmas of 1945, the first after World War II ended. There was nothing at all for the residents of the town to buy for gifts but they were enjoying the fact that the men - those who had survived - were home after six years of war.
I was a military policeman at a Focke-Wulf aircraft factory that now was a U.S. ordnance depot. We made hourly Jeep patrols into town and I happened to be there when they turned on the lights on the big Christmas tree at the town square. It was a tremendous thrill for the young children who had never seen anything like it because of six years of blackout. It seemed everyone in town was there, even the basketman who had lost both arms, both legs and was blind as a result of battle. The young woman who pushed him around the streets in a wheelchair seemed to have wanted him to share the experience.
Something about that Christmas was very special. For me, none since then has even come close to expressing the true meaning of the season. No frenzied shopping, no urging people to spend, just pure joy that at least for a while there truly was peace on earth. Those of us who seven months earlier had been trying to kill each other had learned that language was the only difference between us. It was genuine, that spirit of Christmas in 1945, but so much since then has seemed otherwise.

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