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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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Run Rabbit, Run Rabbit...

We watched an old British movie last night, one that could be called technically inferior by purists. In one respect, though, Millions Like Us was brilliant because it was filmed in 1943 at the height of World War II and that made it authentic. It captured the mood that prevailed in England at that time as few movies have been able to do.
Words cannot truly depict that time and place when lifetimes were compressed into nothing more than the immediate present. The past was hazy, the future doubtful, only today remained. No one, civilians or those in uniform, had even a modicum of control over their lives. When there was free time - and precious little of it was available - men and women would gather in pubs and dance halls where a desperate air of gaiety prevailed. You drank warm beer, danced wildly with arms locked or your hands on the hips of the person in front of you, and you sang silly music hall songs. Run rabbit, run rabbit, run, run run. Here comes the man with the gun, gun, gun.
And you knew, every one of you, that you were the rabbit.
Death came from the skies and soon it would come on the day everyone talked about and wondered exactly when it would be: D-Day. And it would come in all the days that followed. So you laughed and you drank and you sang: Any evening, any day that you go down Lambeth way, you will find them all doing the Lambeth Walk.
Those who were not there can never understand, never have and never will understand. Moralists will say people shouldn't have behaved as they did and fools will say they wish they could have been there to join the fun. They will never comprehend what it was like when millions of people, both in uniform and civilan clothes, had no control whatsoever over their lives. A time when you went where you were told to go and did what you were told to do. All you really had was that particular moment so you had better make the most of it because there may not be another. And you listened to Vera Lynn sing We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when, and you could only wonder if it were true.
Never before and never again would there be a time quite like it. In a pub or a dance hall or anywhere at all you would look at the men and women around you and wonder who would live, who would die and who among those that survived would never again be able to dance or sing or even smile. All of it was beyond your control. All of it, your life and their lives, were in the hands of men you would never see. That made it very simple. Go where you're told, do what you're told and run rabbit, run rabbit, run, run run...


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