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, July 21, 2009

Soap Box Derby time in Akron

It's All-American Soap Box Derby time again in Akron so the downtown streets are crowded with kids and parents from all over the nation and a few foreign countries. Except for the paint jobs the cars look pretty much alike today because they are put together from kits costing hundreds of dollars and parents are allowed to help. Even girls get to compete, for crying out loud.
It was a different world back in 1938 when four seventh graders from old Kent School took part in the Akron city race. Left to right they were Lionel Burke, me, Nick Zissimopoulus and Steve Subichin. We could only spend $10 on a car, including wheels that cost six bucks. We built them from scratch and no one was supposed to help. The results were not pretty.
For the entire month of May and the first week of June the four of us were allowed to skip school all morning and walk the streets of East Akron looking for scrap lumber and metal for our cars. We also tried to get businessmen to cough up ten bucks to sponsor a car and have the company name on the side. We didn't have any luck and maybe it was because we'd walk in the door and say, "Yuh don't wanna sponsor no Soap Box Derby car, do yuh?" They didn't.
All that time Subichin talked about the beautiful blue car he'd have on race day. He came up with the money for a can of blue paint, then spilled it on his basement floor. On race day he drove a gray car.
Burke had to build his car on the front porch. When it was finished, kids from his neighborhood kept trying to steal it to run on the street. He and his older brother took turns standing guard to fight them off.
All three of those guys lost in the first round but I won a heat. We were all winners in that we got to miss half a day of school for more than a month. Not that much was demanded of us at school, but being on the streets was more fun.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your July 21st Akron Soap Box Derby Story! My father, Steve Subichin was in the story. I have hear bits and pices - but not about the paint.

Warm regards,

Steven Subichin

10:44 PM  
Blogger Dick Stodghill said...

Thanks, Steven. Good to hear from you.

9:41 AM  

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