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, March 17, 2009

An Irish Letter on St. Patrick's Day

My grandfather, James Thomas Lynch (pictured), was a generous man with everyone other than members of his immediate family. Among those who received checks from him on a regular basis was Nora Hanley, one of his numerous cousins. She was a resident of Ballyjamesduff in County Cavan. The largest town in the immediate area, Ballyjamesduff was a short distance from tiny Mt. Prospect, the home of Peter Lynch before he emigrated to America in 1853 at the age of 18. Peter was my great-grandfather.
In response to his generosity, James received regular letters of thanks from Cousin Nora. He kept them. Following is one written shortly before Ireland gained its independence. The guard referred to was either a policeman appointed to his job by the British occupiers or, more likely, one of Winston Churchill's murderous Black & Tans.
Here is the letter. Read it and weep - or laugh.

Dear Cousin James,

Your welcome letter received and me and your aunt Bridget thank you kindly for the money you sent. We had seven masses said for your mother and father. God rest their souls.
You have gone to high places in America. God bless you. I hope you'll not be putting on airs and forget your father's native land.
Your cousin Paddy Hanley was hung in Ballyshannon last week for killing a guard. May God rest his soul, and may God's curse be on Mickey O'Grady, the informer. May his soul burn in Hell. God forgive me.
Times are not as bad as they might be. The herring is back and nearly everyone that has a boat is making ends meet and the price of fish is good - thanks be to God.
We had a fine time at Paddy Muldoon's wake. He was an old blatherskite and it looked good to see him stretched out with his big mouth closed. He's better off dead and he'll burn in Hell til the damn place freezes over. He had too many friends among the Orangemen. God's curse be on the lot of them.
Pon my soul, I almost forgot to tell you about your Uncle Dinny. He took a pot shot at a turncoat yesterday from in back of the hedge, but he had too much drink in him and missed. God's curse on the dirty drink.
I hope this letter finds you in good health. God bless you all and may God keep reminding you to keep on sending the money.
The Hanleys sure are one hundred percent strong around here since the best of them stopped going to America. They have kids running all over the county. Thanks be to God.
Father O'Flaherty who baptized your Cousin Matt Welch and is now feeble-minded sends his blessing. May God take care of the lot of you and keep you from sudden death.
Things look bright again. Every police barrack and Protestant Church has been burned down in County Cavan. Thanks be to God.
Your devoted cousin,


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