I used to live 2 blocks from this fire station. Its sits directly across the street, on Waveland Ave, from Wrigley Field the home of the Chicago Cubs. It is an institution in this neighborhood and I remember one summer walking to “the Jewel” (our neighborhood grocery store – for you non Chicagoans) when the firetruck came, full sirens blaring , past us down our street. My husband, as he still to this day, says to fireman and policeman “go get ’em boys”. We rounded the corner and saw that the fire truck was parked at the Jewel and wondered what was going on…. To our surprise, the fireman were in the grocery store purchasing watermelon for their dinner! They were in a hurry and just in case anyone got in their way or they got called out to a fire they ran their sirens.
Neighborhoods are part of the fabric and culture of Chicago and Wrigleyville for us was no exception. We loved living there and many of our college friends made it their home as well. On our last trip to Chicago we took our kids to a Cubs game and for the first time sat along the third base line about 4 rows up. I was amazed that we could get these tickets but so wanted to share our love of the Cubs with our kids. Something funny struck me when we were sitting down that it was the first time in my history of visiting Wrigley Field that it was not full.
I asked several friends about it later and they said that the neighborhood has gotten too expensive, the new owners have not included the neighborhood in decision making and that most 20-30 year olds can’t afford to attend the games anymore and people don’t want to pay big money for a losing team. It made me sad to hear this and prompted me to write about my memories of living in such a vibrant and incredibly fun neighborhood.
I was also asked to fill by cubs.com to fill out a survey after we attended the game. Somehow through my answers the survey said that I was not what they were looking for in their survey results. I lived in the neighborhood for 13 years, attended many many games throughout my childhood and throughout my time in the neighborhood. I can now afford to take my family to a game and sit in nice seats and would put it as number one on the list of things to do when we visit Chicago.
I have great memories of being in Wrigley Field, including scraping a few dollars on my anniversary to sit in the bleachers and winning the bleacher pool for attendance allowing my husband and I to have a nice dinner out for our special day (one which we could not have afforded otherwise). I got hit in the head with a foul ball along the 3rd base line, on a Friday afternoon in the summer 4 months after my first child was born. I was whisked away by cubs security and called for months after to make sure I wasn’t going to sue them. I would never have even thought about that, I loved the Cubs! That was 17 years ago, and I still love telling the story.
In my apartment on Waveland Ave. we had an enclosed sun porch. Once baseball season started we would sit out on the porch and listen to the roar of the crowd and Harry Carey sing the 7th inning stretch. When Harry Carey died I watched his funeral on TV and remembered back to those days on the porch.
I have friends that met at Wrigley Field, lived in the neighborhood, were later married and had photos taken outside the day of their wedding. (yes, Hoods I am talking to you here)
I now live on the west coast, have traveled to Mesa to see Cubs spring training, attended Giants games in San Francisco when the Cubs have played them and watch them on TV on WGN during the week just to hear the buzz from the crowd and to remind me of my time in the neighborhood.
If I’m not what the Cubs are looking for in a survey, then who is? This year is the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field. To me, there is still no better place to see a baseball game, connect with friends and share in a neighborhoods love of the game. I hope the new owners of the Cubs can figure out their issues as I want my kids to take their kids and make their memories in this incredibly nostalgic home on the north side.
I’d love to hear your favorite memories of the Cubs, will you share them in the comments below?
Have a great weekend everyone!