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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Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Valentine Box at School

In the sixth, seventh and eighth grades at the decrepit old school on the hill overlooking Goodyear Plant One and the Mohawk rubber factory we always had a Valentine Box. This box wrapped in silver foil with red hearts and cupids here and there never changed in appearance so I suspected it followed us from room to room as the years slipped by.
For a week the pupils (no one qualified as a student) could drop valentines that popped up to create all sort of images into the box. When the big day arrived the teacher opened the box, picked up one valentine at a time and called a name. That person would walk to the front of the room, accept the valentine and return to his or her seat. Usually her seat because few boys received one. When this did happen, as the unfortunate fellow walked head-down to retrieve his token of affection he would be accompanied by hoots and catcalls.
On the other hand, the pretty and popular girls would barely be back at their desk before their name was called again. For a boy it was a badge of honor to not receive a valentine. A girl who failed to receive even a single one could only pretend that she did not care. She would work at doing better next year.
Then there were the comic valentines printed on 8x11 sheets of paper and found on drug store counters. For a penny or two you could present someone with a colorfully illustrated and highly insulting missive. To do so meant sorting through the stack until you found one that was appropriate. For me that meant finding one for a salesman who couldn't sell ice at the equator. The more vile and uncouth the better, and this I would give to my father. In turn he would hand me one meant for an oafish lout.
Times have changed since those late years of the Great Depression. Most valentines are nothing more than conventional greeting cards that don't pop up or do a thing but lie there. Comic valentines are not found on drug store counters. Most schools don't even have valentine boxes because someones tender feelings might be hurt. There isn't as much laughter in this era of political correctness and few backbones are stiffened on Valentine's Day.


Blogger Robert Lopresti said...

I haven't thought about those awful boxes in school rooms in years. Were the ones at your school anonymous or did the recipient know who had foavored them?

2:11 PM  
Blogger Dick Stodghill said...

It was up to the sender, Rob. The majority were signed so the recipient knew your true feelings, but some hid behind aliases such as "Your Secret Admirer." That resulted in a guessing game, which may have been the intention when you sent one to another boy with the hope of embarrassing him.

6:09 PM  

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