guest post: flying the w for grandpa
i was watching coverage of the Cubs World Series movie when they showed a man who mentioned how he would remember where he was when the Cubs won the World Series for the next 80 years. isn't that something? now that we're a few weeks removed from the win, it's interesting to reflect on what that moment means to different people.
i asked my twitter followers to share their stories with me and i'd share them here. this story, belongs to @rinkrebel:
My grandfather (my father's father) was my last grandparent to pass. He was born in 1922 and grew up in the city of Baltimore - his mother was a huge Orioles fan and would religiously listen to every game on the radio. He went to Bucknell University (where much of my family on that side went) in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and shortly after graduating, he enlisted in the Navy and left for WWII. He served a tour in the Pacific theater in WWII. He married my grandmother, who he met in college (she went to Bucknell too) after he came back. He also served in Korean War. My grandmother was pregnant with my dad before he left for Korea and my father didn't meet him until he was 2 years old.
All that aside, after his service, my grandfather worked in the steel business (he was a mechanical engineer) at Bethlehem Steel in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. In the 1960's, Bethlehem Steel opened a new plant in Burns Harbor, Indiana, and wanted my grandfather to manage it. He agreed, so the family moved to Valparaiso in 1964.
Despite Valpo being in Sox territory, my grandfather became a huge Cubs fan. He was also a big Bears fan. Every time we would visit him, both before and after my grandmother (his wife) passed, if it were baseball season, he would talk about "those Cubbies." I always remember on the end table next to his chair would be that day's sports section of the Chicago Tribune. In the lean years, he would often lament about how the Cubs were doing and how so-and-so was useless or that he was hopeful for that year.
He passed away on December 13, 2013 at the age of 91. Even at Game 7 of the Cubs World Series I thought of my grandfather. I thought how excited he would be to even see this moment. It was enough to bring me to tears even before they won.
After my grandmother, his wife, died, he was ready to go. They were so in love, all he wanted to do was be with her again. I visited him in hospice about a week before he passed, and all he could talk about was "I can't wait to see Anne again." Of course, in December 2013, I wasn't thinking much of a Cubs World Series win.
But when it actually happened, it was nearly all I could think about. Once Rizzo caught that final out, I burst into tears, not only for me as a Cubs fan, but for my grandpa. If he had only lasted 3 more years, he would have seen it for himself. When I saw fans on the news talking about loved ones who hadn't lived to see it, I always immediately thought of my grandpa. How he would have loved to watch the Cubs win the World Series.
I am not really subscribed to a religion but I hope that wherever my grandpa is, he was able to see the Cubs win it all.