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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Monday, October 05, 2009

Popular stuff quickly dies

Too busy on a couple of major projects to spend time blogging, but I was thinking how fast a popular saying can become obsolete. When I was a kid back in the 1930s an oft-heard one was, "Now you're cooking with gas." It meant you were right up to date, really getting somewhere, moving ahead in the world. No more carrying coal or wood to feed a stove. Now you just turned a handle, struck a match, held it over the jets and up shot the flames. You were cooking with gas.
Life is easy today. People don't seem to realize that, but it's true. Back then you used a push mower to mow the lawn. You washed clothes on a washboard or, if you were really prosperous, with a washing machine that still required a lot of physical work. No clothes driers so you hung everything out on a clothesline to dry. On rainy Mondays they had to be hung in the basement. No wash-and-wear clothing so everything had to be ironed. Lucky women had a Hoover or Eureka but most used a broom and dustpan to clean the floor. They scrubbed floors on hands and knees. After every meal they washed and dried the dishes by hand.
In cool or cold weather you fired up the furnace and kept it going by heaping on coal at regular intervals. You carried out the ashes when they began to pile up. You emptied the water container under the ice box, but very carefully so you didn't end up making a mess.
There was much more, of course. The mother had the worst of it but there was plenty to do for the father and the kids. Keeping a house running smoothly meant hard work. Does anyone darn socks today? Does anyone alter clothes so someone else can wear them? Probably not too many.
Time to get back to work while I'm still cooking with gas.


Anonymous Chet Headley said...

Dick, 08 Oct 09

Don’t forget taking the rugs outside, hanging them up and beating them with a mattenklopper (carpet beater).

You mentioned firing up the furnace and keeping it going by heaping on coal at regular intervals. At the age of three my folks decided to buy their first house. Mom usually took me with her on house hunts. Of all the houses we looked at one still sticks in my mind. It had pocket doors in every room, high ceilings and a monstrous coal furnace with an automatic stoker. I thought that furnace was the neatest thing on earth.

It used crushed coal rather than the large lumps most folks manually stoked their furnaces with (via the shovel method, which was usually Dad’s job). Chains and sprockets (similar to bicycles) driven by electric motors operated the stocker and dampers. To top it all off the whole thing was thermostatically controlled. I kept hoping they would buy that house but sadly they bought one with gas heat. I have yet to encounter another furnace of any type that was as impressive as that engineering marvel was.

Take care,


12:38 AM  

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