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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Friday, February 20, 2009

Differences and Similarities - 1930-2009


One of the advantages, or perhaps disadvantages, of being able to remember back to 1930 and the years that followed is being able to compare then and now without having to consult a history book. To illustrate the point, consider a quarter.
A man with nothing in his pocket but a dirty handkerchief and a comb missing a few teeth doesn't find it a whole lot easier coming up with two bits today than he would have in 1930. That's the similarity. The difference is that the fellow who did have a quarter back then could walk into any corner grocery store and come out with a quart of milk and a pound of hamburger. The family would eat. Today the same man could go into a supermarket and discover the quarter won't even buy a candy bar.
If conditions continue to get worse, the absence of those corner grocery stores may make a huge difference. The old-time grocer knew his customers by name, knew the man and his wife and all their kids. When a family hit rock bottom the grocer would write the last name on a little tan-colored booklet like the receipt books used by waitresses. In some stores you would find a dozen of those booklets, in others fifty or more.
It usually was the wife who asked the grocer to open a book for her family by explaining that money was non-existent but the need for food hadn't changed. He'd handle it like any cash transaction by taking a pencil from the top of one ear and totalling up her "purchases" on the brown paper sack that then would hold them. After that he'd enter the total in the booklet. From then on it usually was one of the kids who would pick up the day's necessities. That figure, too, would be entered into the book.
When the breadwinner came up with a few dollars or even a little change he would stop by the store and pay a little on the tab. The grocer would know that this was difficult for the man, a blow to his pride, so he would make out like running a tab was just the normal way of doing business. When the man found a job he would walk in with a spring in his step and settle the account.
The owner of the corner grocery was a part of the neighborhood. He knew the people, was aware of their problems, saw to it that no one starved and even slipped the kids a piece of penny candy now and then.
It was a way of life in the 1930s. Don't hold much hope of finding it like that at the supermarket any time in the future.



http://www.dickstodghill.com/

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