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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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I'm really steamed this time


Americans can't be trusted. If this isn't true, then why can't I find a gas station that doesn't require payment before pumping 13 gallons for $52.06? Why can I no longer pick up a pouch of pipe tobacco at the drug store rather than summoning a clerk to get it from behind the counter? Because people drive off without paying for their gas and then go to the drug store and steal pipe tobacco, that's why.
I'm that guy on the comic page who sighs and says, "I miss the old days." Days before women sat in a warm building and collected the money while I stand out in the rain and cold to fill the tank. Days when I'd walk into the drug store and be called by name as I passed by on my way to the tobacco aisle.
The station where I spent 15 minutes today trying to get the pump to accept my credit card is at State Road and Chestnut Boulevard in Cuyahoga Falls. That spot was once occupied by Orv Eiber's City Service station. When I'd drive in, Orv or one of his employees would come walking out and say, "Hi, Dick, how much do you want?" I'd usually say, "A dollar's worth," and sit there behind the wheel while the gas was pumped, the oil and water checked and the windshield cleaned. If the car needed some work done it would be driven into one of the bays for an oil change or a little tinkering by the mechanic. Now the lady who wouldn't know an oil change from a hamburger with mustard sits there and collects the money.
A block south of Orv Eiber's place was a Sunoco station run by Bill Haggerty. I worked for him for a while and never once on even the coldest day thought of yelling to a customer, "Pump it yourself and bring me the money." Had I done so, Bill would have fallen over in a dead faint.
Directly across from Bill's station was an Amoco owned by John Mahan. About once a day, Orv would come walking down State Road and Mahan would cross the street and the three of them would talk for a while, tell a joke or two and maybe enjoy a cup of coffee. Everyone there, employees included, would be laughing and having a good time even though hard, dirty work was part of their daily life.
So tell me about all the wonderful stuff we have today. Tell me how we never had it so good. My answer: "You just don't know how much better it once was."
That's not an old guy enjoying a moment of nostalgia. It's cold, hard fact.


2 Comments:

Blogger STAG said...

I've heard that bit before about the days when you got your oil checked, your tires pumped up, and your windshield cleaned along with your fill up. Clearly that is what the customer wants. Wayne, who ownes my local gas station tried it....but they had to raise the price of gas by a penny a liter. The customers all went across the road where they would do it themselves. So much for that experiment. People DONT want service, they want a penny less a gallon on the gas.

2:38 AM  
Blogger Dick Stodghill said...

You're right, Stag. Back in the late 1800s my great-grandfather, Mike Burke, had a store in Naugatuck, Connecticut. He was a great union man so when there was a strike at a nearby shoe factory he let the strikers run up tabs, hold meetings in his store, etc. When the strike ended and everyone had money again, most of them did their shopping at a new chain store down the street.

9:09 AM  

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