I Miss the Cubs of my Childhood

I Miss the Cubs of my Childhood

I really enjoy being a part of this whole ChicagoNow network. I assume that most of you have at least a rudimentary grasp of CN, in that you probably see the logo when you're reading this or other Cubs blogs. But what you might not know is that it's a vast network of different blogs, all connected to a main hub.

As such, there are often coordinated events, such as the semi-regular Blogapalooz-hour, in which a topic is sent out at 9pm CST via email. Bloggers then have 1 hour to write on said topic, posting the result at 10pm. I've not done it before, but I'm taking a break from both the Cubs and Sharknado 2 to do so now, so I hope at least a couple of you enjoy it.

My headline is pretty transparent, but I hope to add a little dimension to it in the following words. You see, it's not so much the team that I miss as it is the idea of the team, the romantic notion of a distilled experience that's more intoxicating than any spirit. For me, the Cubs have always been more than just a baseball team.

I grew up on a farm in Northwest IN. We had no satellite, no way to pull in more than the four or so terrestrial stations that reached us from Chicago and South Bend. And that was fine since the Cubs were on nearly every day during the summer, giving my brother and I something to watch.

But rather than try to organize all these swirling thoughts into cogent paragraphs, I'm going to make a list of the things I miss about my team, things that have been lost or simply worn away by the sandpaper of time. I miss:

  • Pepsi in glass bottles
  • Spending the afternoon with my little brother
  • Laying a towel on the carpet to catch the crumbs from the Saltines we'd eat during games
  • The smell of Grandpap microwaving his hot dogs for lunch
  • Watching the NBA Superstars VHS, a free gift from SI, before and after Cubs games
  • Harry Caray telling me what a beautiful day it was
  • Listening to the game on the radio while standing against the glass cab of the combine, watching cornstalks being drawn asunder
  • Ryno, man, Ryno
  • My awe at seeing Manny Trillo jack one into the upper deck
  • Steve Stone being awesome
  • The way time stopped for 9 innings
  • Not knowing how much players were paid
  • That painting of kittens playing with balls of yarn hanging in Grandpap's living room
  • Vance Law's glasses
  • Shawon Dunston's arm
  • Bull, Penguin, Zonk, Hawk
  • WGN local commercials
  • The Empire guy
  • Go, Cubs, Go being a new song
  • Harry singing half of Take Me Out to the Ballgame
  • Names spelled backwards

I could probably go on, but I'll leave it at that. Of all those things, I miss my Grandpap the most. Sure, my dad was a Cubs fan and he'd be playing the games on the radio when he was out in the field. But it's my Grandpap with whom I associate so many of my early memories, the ones that really tie me to this team.

So I raise my glass to you now, old man. It's something a little stronger than Pepsi, but I know that's something you'd have appreciated too. I know you're looking down and smiling; you were always smiling though, weren't you? When these sorry sonsofbitches finally get it together, I'll raise another one to you and we'll celebrate together, whadya say?

Dammit, now I'm tearing up and I'm supposed to be laughing at a stupid SyFy movie and flipping to the game at commercial breaks. If nothing else, this little exercise has reminded me to stop taking the team so seriously and just enjoy the ride like I used to. Thank you for indulging me.

@DEvanAltman

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  • fb_avatar

    You captured a moment many of us share. Sat side by side with my grandpa in recliners in the basement of his Berwyn bungalow watching the Cubbies. Ate cheese sandwiches with mustard and pickles. An elaborate Hamms sign hung above the TV. Haven't thought about that in a while, so thanks.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to cubsfantherapy:

    You're welcome. We all have stories of how and when we became fans, and it's fun to revisit those once in a while. Not to get stuck there, mind you, but to look back and maybe detach from things a bit.

  • Evan is a youngster. Now any old time Cubs fan will remember the good old days.

    - Getting a Pepsi or Coke bottle out of metal box for 10 cents
    - Spending 8 hours playing baseball at a park every day in the summer.
    - Spending less then a dollar for a McDonalds hamburger, shake & fries
    - Buying White Castle hamburgers for 12 cents each.
    - the smell of BBQ & wood burnings at the forest preserve
    - watching tape delay of the NBA Finals after 10:30 pm
    - watching day time World Series.
    - Hearing Lou & Vince on the radio at school
    - Ron Santo - Billy Williams - Fergie Jenkins - Ernie Banks
    - Watching Joe Morgan in 1975 World Series
    - Watching Steve Stone pitch as a Cub
    - Watching Steve Stone pitch as a White Sox
    - Watching a pitcher pitch 9 innings
    - Hearing players like Rich Hebner digging graves in the off season to make a few extra dollars
    - Laughing at the people who bought those Dogs Playing Poker paintings.
    - Collecting drinking glass sets at gas stations with a fill up.
    - Looking at Ball Girl Marla Collins legs during the game.
    - Sutter, Buckner, Kingman, Reuschel
    - WGN "Creature Feature" on Saturday Nights
    - Bozo Show at Noon
    - Hearing Harry Caray & Jimmy Peirsall making remarks about every pretty girl's boobs that walked past them during a Sox broadcast.
    - Naming every starting pitcher on each team when they were only 24 teams in the league.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to CubsTalk:

    I guess I could be considered a youngster; it's relative I guess. But some of those things don't take an old timer to remember. Bozo was on well into the 80's.

  • In reply to Evan Altman:

    That's about what I was going to say. My memories are more of Brickhouse and the Hey Hey, Santo hawking pizzas, Ernie Banks, and why there was someone from Cleveland (Lou Boudreau) in the radio booth. Also trying to keep straight Vince Lloyd and Lloyd Pettit (why two Lloyds?). Heck, even the high wall behind home plate, and when the rooftops were one one guy with a Weber Grill on a flat rooftop (around the days of V.I. Warshawski).

    When they play the old tapes (and even the Harry era tapes) it is hard to remember that the quality of the TV picture and graphics was that bad. Of course, it took me about 3 years to figure out how the two ring UHF tuner worked when Channels 26 and 32 first started. Now my memory of Cubs games is that Channel 26.1 gets cleared out of my tuner more often than not, but at least one can see the relative garbage Len and JD are chomping down.

  • In reply to jack:

    Ronnie's pizzas being flipped on the field..........Santo use to pick them up and told the vendor to re-sell them !

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Was this some audience gesture analogous to throwing the bad balls back?

  • In reply to Evan Altman:

    I forgot to mention that my sister was on TV (first row of the bleachers) when Ken Holtzman threw a no hitter. No sign of Mike Murphy, though. No basket, either.

  • In reply to Evan Altman:

    Bozo of the 80's was not the same with the Bozo Circus of the 60's & 70's....Ringmaster Ned was not around in the 80's....nor was the 13 piece band......no Oliver O Oliver......some guy named Joey was the Bozo in the 80's.

  • fb_avatar

    I'd love to see that Andre Dawson Tru-Link fence ad one more time, but it seems to have been eliminated from the internet.

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