Dave Swartz

“The mills rolling normally, you know. Many blooms an hour. And the spirits up, you know. It’s just like another day, only today’s our last day. And we were rolling, and then finally, when the last bloom, when the last piece of steel comes out of the mill itself, they blow this one loud siren, and somebody says the end! And they wrote on the last bar in soap chalk, because it’s red hot. When it cooled, the end, for sale! And then, when the mill was done rolling, everybody’s mood got somber, you know, cause the end set in there, like forty bars away. And as the bar kept getting closer, things got quieter. And when the last bar came down the roller mill, the very last happened to come down on the south side, and we were, they were cuttin' it up. We were told to cut into twenty foot pieces, we were cutting it because we wanted the Bethlehem Steel logo, every eighteen inches, so we got some of those. And then, when the guy, when the saw operator made the last final cut, the tears started to come down our eyes, and we hugged everybody. We were sad. And that was the first time we heard the mill silent. A lot of the guys you work with, you’re never gonna see them again. A lot of the guys that had accidents, you nurse back to health, call them at home, and be right there. A lot of those you are never going to see again. Some of the guys come from Tamaqua, Lehighton, Hazleton, you know. Some of them a long ways off. You know you are never going to see them again. Just wish them luck!”