Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Our Family and the Cubs

We have five generations of Cubs fans in our family. It started with my grandfather. We don’t know at what point he became a devoted Cubs fan, but we’re safe in guessing it was early. He was 28 when the Cubs last won the World Series in 1908, and he was 65 in 1945 when they last played in the World Series.

Devotion to the Cubs started early in his family, too. A letter in the family-history files was written by my grandfather’s son, our uncle, during his overseas service in WWII. Even from the battlefront he was asking about the Cubs!

Grandpa lived another eleven years after that ’45 World Series, and that is where my memories come in. During the mid-50s, shortly before he died, I have a clear picture of him leaning over his little radio at the kitchen table listening and being vocally animated. I even remember his being enthusiastic over the fairly new player who was doing good things for the Cubs—Ernie Banks!

My dad, Grandpa’s son-in-law, was also a devoted fan. Though he was dignified and generally on the quiet side, we who knew him remember how he too could get vocally excited about the Cubs. Some of his grandsons and great-grandsons still do.

A few of us in the family like to see the Cubs win, but we don’t always keep track of what is happening with them as much as some of the others. There’s even been some disillusionment with things like the huge sports salaries of today—which of course would totally blow my grandfather away! But there’s definitely enough enthusiasm among us to claim the five generations.

My closing story happened late this summer. My son’s two boys, now in college, are members of that fifth generation. This summer for their dad’s birthday, they pooled their funds and took the three of them all the way from Tennessee to Chicago to see a Cubs game in person. One of them had already stated on his high school graduation card that his goal was to live long enough to see the Cubs win the World Series!

Despite what may or may not happen in the next week, I’m counting on his living a lot longer than that!

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