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, March 20, 2009

Men Running Around in Their B.V.D.s


This is blog number 400 so in honor of that event I will return to a popular topic, men's underwear. I can't be certain, but I believe my interest in this subject dates back to writing a book on that old musical group the Hoosier Hot Shots. One of the boys' most popular hits was "From the Indies to the Andies in His Undies." They explained that this was "a very, very daring thing to do." Well, I should think so.
But today I am writing about the brand B.V.D. When I was a kid back in the late 1920s and during the joyous years of the Great Depression, B.V.D. apparently was a very popular brand of men's shorts. I know this because people were always talking about someone running around in his B.V.D.s. Why this was a popular topic of conversation, I have no idea. It was, though, so I grew up thinking it was a word: beeveedees. You didn't pull up your shorts, you hiked up your beeveedees.
The name seemed to have been a victim of World War II so I had all but forgotten it until I was well into my sixties. Then, while shopping for shorts, I came upon packets labeled B.V.D. I bought one, of course, and once again was able to run around in my beeveedees.
So today I looked it up and I'm right back to where I left off a few days ago: Fruit of the Loom. They bought the brand in 1976. Before that, an outfit in Piqua, Ohio bought out Bradley, Voorhees & Day early in the 1930s. That will be the subject of another blog someday because while visiting the town I have discovered that many of its residents are confused about the pronunciation of Piqua. Adding to the problem is an Ohio county, Pickaway. It's nowhere near Piqua.
Then to further complicate the situation there are the people who own cows, which also have B.V.D. but not as an undergarment. To them, the people, it means Bovine Virus Diarrhea. Not nearly as pleasant a subject as men's shorts.
So I hope this has been informative and clears up any confusion about men running around in their beeveedees. I'm not completely clear as to why that was such a commonplace thing to do in the 1930s unless the Depression left many men without pants.



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