Jobs Homes Autos For Sale










Cubs fans hope cremation finally lays all curses to rest
By Steve Zalusky | Daily Herald Staff

Gary Durante, funeral director with Alternative Horizon speaks at the Chicago Cubs "Cremate the Curse" event on Sunday at Michael's Funeral Home in Schaumburg.

 

George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

Ward "Ivy Man" Tannhauser, of Crystal Lake poses for photographs with Ronnie "Woo Woo" Wickers as they and other celebrities took part in a Chicago Cubs "Cremate the Curse" event on Sunday at Michael's Funeral Home in Schaumburg.

 

George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

Ward "Ivy Man" Tannhauser, of Crystal Lake was on hand as celebrities took part in a Chicago Cubs "Cremate the Curse" event on Sunday at Michael's Funeral Home in Schaumburg.

 

George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

Bianca Melone, 11, and her mom Cindy, both of Elk Grove Village look at the Cubs casket at the "Cremate the Curse" event on Sunday at Michael's Funeral Home in Schaumburg.

 

George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 1 of 4 
 
print story
email story
Published: 4/6/2009 12:07 AM

Send To:

E-mail:
To:

From:

Name:
E-mail:

Comments:

If the Chicago Cubs win the World Series this year, it may well be because they urn it.

On Sunday, Cubs fans hoped to change the team's World Series luck from bad to hearse, turning out by the dozens at Michael's Funeral Home, 800 S. Roselle Road, Schaumburg.

All Cubs curses, ranging from the Billy Goat to the Bartman ball, were officially cremated during a ceremony attended by Chicago's biggest celebrity fan, comedian Tom Dreesen, Cubs icon Ronnie "Woo Woo," ex-Cubs Bill Campbell and Gene Hiser and a man dressed as a vine.

Steve Bartman was noticeably absent, probably out of fear of becoming urn fodder.

Attendees filled an open casket draped with a Sammy Sosa jersey with a variety of items to be burned in a special ceremony at Bohemian National Cemetery in Chicago.

Once the contents of the casket are cremated, they will be placed in an urn to be auctioned off. Proceeds will partly benefit Chicago Baseball Cancer Charities.

The appearance of Dreesen, a Los Angeles resident known as much for his Cubbie blue blood as his Las Vegas schtick (he offered to toss his ex-wife into the casket), highlighted the ceremony, which featured guests describing the various curses and then placing an object symbolizing each curse into the casket.

They included a stuffed cross-eyed black cat, commemorating one of the pivotal misfortunes of the ill-fated 1969 season, when a black cat walked in front of Ron Santo at New York's Shea Stadium.

Pat Brickhouse, widow of Cubs broadcaster Jack Brickhouse, celebrated her birthday with a special cake.

"Sorry," she said, "but I do believe that today the only curses at Wrigley Field are the ones from the fans in the stands."

The event was started in conjunction with the publication of "Cubbie Blues: 100 years of Waiting Till Next Year," published by Can't Miss Press.

"We have been doing book signings all over the place, looking for an out-of-the-box event. This is about as out-of-the-box as it gets," said publisher George Rawlinson.

Rawlinson said the plan was to cremate all the curses at once on the eve of Opening Day. "We're going to get rid of as much bad karma as we can and start the 2009 season with as much positive energy as possible, hoping that our team goes to the World Series."

Michael Demnicki of Michael's Funeral Home, said Rawlinson approached him. "I was hemming and hawing. I wasn't exactly sure if this was a good idea or not," he said. "But I am a Cubs fan at heart.

"Everybody has been going through a lot of bad news over the last few months. I figured give somebody an opportunity to do something unusual and fun and also to try and take the stigma out of the funeral industry."

Demnicki said his establishment had a clean slate for the event Sunday. "I actually made arrangements this morning for one, but it's going to be on Thursday next week. So the timing worked out really well."

Funeral Director Gary Durante said the service for the curse was actually the second one for a 101-year-old he has handled within the past week.

Some of the more obscure curses include a new one, the Patti Blagojevich curse, referring to her taped expletive hurled at the Cubs.

Guests were treated to Cubs music, as well as food from Love Me Tenders, the official chicken of the Chicago Cubs, and Red Hot Chicago.

Among those in attendance was Joe Papa of Elgin, who said he takes these curses seriously. "My father went to his grave without seeing (the Cubs win the World Series)."

Prior to the event, Dreesen recalled growing up Cubbie in south suburban Harvey. "In those days, you wouldn't dare go into a bar on the South Side of Chicago if you were a Cub fan. There is no greater rivalry in the history of baseball than Cub-White Sox."