Mudlark No. 60 (2016)

Hold That Tiger

1947. The Evening Independent

Fair weather prevailing, Massillon is expected to have the largest rally in its history at Tiger stadium at 7:30 this evening when Philip Murray, president of the Council of Industrial Organizations and head of the United Steelworkers of America delivers his first speech in this city: You could not have had a meeting in this beautiful stadium ten years ago tonight. Certainly your mayor wouldn’t have been here then, nor the sheriff of your county. I doubt if you would have secured the services of your high school band, and I wouldn’t have been here for the same reason that you wouldn’t have been here.


1986. The Evening Independent

2000 march through Massillon to get the plant back in operation.... I never thought this would happen, said Don Ely, who worked there 20 years, his father 30 years.... Retirees of LTV Corp. and the Republic Steel Corp. were jolted Monday as news spread that their hospitalization, life insurance and Workers Compensation coverage was cut off by LTV.... USX, the old U.S. Steel, is stocking riot gear and tear gas in case of trouble....

Not many in Massillon feel pangs of regret for the recently departed. Newstat reportedly got $1.7 out of Enduro and McMarlin (LTV) testified he got $160,000 a year and a $50,000 bonus in January. Greenberg, the attorney, got, well, you know how much attorneys can get. Let’s just say these three gentlemen won’t be showing up in a soup line anytime in the next few years.


Down the west hill from Section 4, Republic’s 
dingy metal roofs 
snake four or five city blocks 

parallel to the cemetery. What does he
think, looking down there every day, the ghost 
inside this grave who took a stand? 

Grown sardonic over the years, 
hoping for a belly laugh to free him 
from this Ohio fog 

into real death, does he
sit up on his cross and let the wind whiz 
through the hole in his head —

or has Calzada poked his 
holy head out of his sunken bed just 
once since he dropped off, waking in 1947 

sure he must be sleep-drunk, flabbergasted 
at the sound of his own name blasting 
across town from Tiger Stadium? 

But then, hearing Murray’s crackling speech 
and the hurrahs, did he begin to
fancy himself a folk hero, pipedreaming 

of the Tiger band marching with the Word 
through thousands of Massillons all over America,
leading big Easter-type parades 

like the ones he knew as a boy in Spain, 
the high-stepping majorettes strutting 
to the tune of “Hold That Tiger”?


Who am I, in this funk, to take on
the status quo? I could barely explain myself
at the reunion, as if I’d forgotten

my mother tongue. Ruth had her own souls
to save. Betty passed around pictures of her kids.
The two laid-off men at my table

changed the subject.

Sue D. Burton | Tigers
Contents | Mudlark No. 60 (2016)