My Rocky Marciano Story

Whitty memory.jpg  Back in ‘68’, when I graduated from Marshall University with a chemistry degree, chemistry majors were in pretty much demand.  Upon graduation, I was offered an interview with a company in Holland, Michigan and was asked to come to their Holland headquarters for an official interview.  The only trouble was that there was no commercial airport in Holland, so the company sent down a private plane (a small Cessna) for this visit.  Holland, Michigan was also the town where former heavyweight Rocky Marciano trained for his matches. The pilot and plane which was sent to pick me up was also the one which was frequently used by Marciano. The pilot was a very nice fellow and, as memory serves, was named Glen. As we flew along he told me several stories of the ‘Rock’, some of which were quite humorous. One of his stories involved Rocky and his brother.  It seems that on one of their trips, this pilot had to take them to Montreal, Canada, and had filed the flight plan accordingly.  Before they left, both Rocky and his brother wanted some ice cream, so they each had bought a half gallon of ice cream and a spoon. Rocky was in the back seat, but the brother was in the front seat beside the pilot. About half way to Montreal, the ice cream was gone and Rocky’s brother had to pee! He really had to pee! Since the flight plan had been filed, the pilot could not put down so he told him to pee in the ice cream container.  For whatever reason, the brother could not do it with the pilot so close, so, in mid-flight, Rocky and his brother exchanged places. Although the plane was relatively small, these two hulks managed to change places by climbing over the seat. With nobody watching, brother was able to pee and everybody had a good laugh. 

     During my flight to Holland we ran into heavy rain and clouds.  We were in this terrible storm most of the way and the pilot was really concerned. We could not get above the storm, but flying with instruments, we continued to fly along for two or three more hours through this terrible weather. When we finally reached Holland and broke through the worst of the overcast, the runway was barely visible.  Our altitude must have been less than a thousand feet!  Needless to say, I was really impressed!  Arriving at the company, I had a very good interview and was officially offered the job, but eventually chose to go with another company (Dow-Badiche) in Williamsburg, Virginia.  I accepted a job as an applications research chemist and began my post college work in that capacity. A few months later I picked up the morning paper and read where Rocky Marciano and his pilot had been killed in a small plane crash (single engine Cessna) somewhere out in Iowa. The crash occurred on August 31, 1969.  I do not know for certain if it was the same plane and pilot, but I suspect it was. Rocky Marciano and this pilot will forever be in my memory. I dedicate this poem to the Marciano family:

                                          Those Marciano Boys

                             With weathered features ‘neath baseball cap,                      

                        Pilot’s face was calm that day—

                            As through the storm and darkened sky,

                        We flew along the way.

                            He told me stories of those times past

                        When he with Rocky flew,

                            One of the greatest fighters

                        That the world ever knew–.

                            There was a story about Rocky

                        And a brother who loved him so,

                            And a time they shared together

                        That was only for them to know.

                            But now the final round is over                      

                        And life’s fight has now been won,

                            And Rocky is in his heavenly home

                        Beyond the setting sun—.

                            But one day brothers will meet again,

                        Somewhere on Heaven’s shore,

                            Where hugs and laughter will then abound,

                        And tears will be no more – -.

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