by Tina Johansson
The Chicago Cubs is an institution that unites fans far beyond the Wind City’s borders.
Anyone who has lived anywhere remotely close, carries with him or her their support and enthusiasm for the team wherever they go. Chicago may be a divided city with the distinction of the North Side, South Side and West Side and different communities, but the Cubs have always been a unifying force for young and old, rich and poor, educated or blue collar.
The historical win Wednesday, only makes that bond stronger.
As Phil Jensen of Libertyville kept tabs on the World Series playoff games, his mind wandered to a 1969 event that brought him keepsakes he says he will never part with.
In fact, Jensen, who grew up fourth in a family of eight children, remembers how he was surprised when his father, Milton Jensen (former mayor of Beach Park and Zion), told him that he would be flying the Cubs to St. Louis. The elder Jensen was a longtime commercial airline pilot for United Airlines.
Just the other day he posted a short version of the story on his Facebook page along with photos.
“My dad gets a call to fly the Cubs to St. Louis. My mom lets me get a ball to have them sign. Dad comes through big-time with a ball and card signed by the entire ’69 Cubs and announcers. I was busting with pride for my dad and appreciation for my mom,” Jensen chopped out on his page.
His favorite Cub was Ernie Banks, he said.
“I will never part with these mementoes. More than just getting the signatures, it was about my mom and dad recognizing my love of baseball and the Cubs. It meant so much, because when you’re one of seven children (the eighth Jensen child was yet to be born), you don’t get special attention often,” he said.
Pondering for a moment, Jensen remarked, “You know, I didn’t even realize it, but I’ve been a Cubs fan for 50 years!”
Dee Georgou, a longtime resident of Winthrop Harbor, recently moved to Arizona. She watched most of the Cubs games right in her living room, including their World Series win.
“I was texting with friends and family while watching, and as Joe Maddon (Cubs manager) said, ‘I had a heart attack every 10 minutes.'”
“I’ve been a Cubs fan all my life. I started watching them while in grammar school in Mundelein,” she said. “I’d walk home from Santa Maria del Popolo (Catholic school), and then I would see Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, Ron Santo and the rest on TV. I just fell in love with them.”
Later on, Georgou found herself attending a number of their games at Wrigley Field.
“Many things have changed in my life of 55 years. But one thing has remained constant: my undying love for the Chicago Cubs.”
If anyone knows Lisa Schultz of Gurnee, they know she is, in her own words, “A Facebook fanatic.” You can find the spirited graphic artist day and night tapping away on her smart phone, posting funny and satirical pieces, often political in nature.
On Wednesday night however, Schultz’s attention was focused on the game. Oh, she was still Facebooking, telling her friends the scores in real time:
“Fasten your seatbelts! 3 Outs away!” She posted it all in caps to further emphasize her excitement. “OMG! 8-6!” and “Two down. One to go! I am dyyyying!”
At one point she even invoked the spirit of her late mother Carol Samorez, a diehard Cubs fan.
“They cut to a commercial and I bawled and prayed that they would maintain their lead of 8-6,” said Schultz. “I begged my mom to make it happen.”
“PRAY PRAY PRAY!!! MOM!!! DO SOMETHING!!!” Schultz pleaded on her page.
It looks like Mrs. Samorez came through, or so Schultz likes to believe.
Either way, the 108-year old curse had finally been broken. And the Cubs will forever be remembered by my generation and yours, as World Series Champions.