Lucy and Ethel

My mother, Lily, loved movies and especially admired the actors of the 1940s and 1950s.

One of her favorites was Lucille Ball particularly in the I Love Lucy TV show. Due to Mom’s influence, my sister and I watched that show regularly and were avid fans. Anyone familiar with that show knows that Lucy Ricardo along with her neighbor and best friend, Ethel Mertz, were zany and getting into all kinds of misadventures together.

In 1966 we moved to Carbondale, IL, home of Southern Illinois University. Shortly after settling into our new home, we met the Folands who lived two blocks away on our street. Mom and Judy Foland became fast and life time friends. Our two families celebrated holidays together, played together and often sang around the piano together. Mom and Judy were both accomplished pianists.

But what I remember most is the laughter we shared and often at the expense of Mom and Judy whom we dubbed “Lucy” and “Ethel”! But they were both so good natured that they laughed louder than anybody at their own zany adventures as they often retold the stories.

One incident is notable as it involved driving and superhuman strength – at least in theory. Mom was backing out of the driveway and Judy was in the passenger seat when the car became hung up on a garbage can which was blocking the way. How to disengage from that garbage can!? Of course “Lucy” and “Ethel” decided that one of them would lift the car and the other would roll out the container on which the wheels were hung up. That didn’t work so they decided to switch roles – they really believed they, at no more than 5’4” and never having done hard labor, could lift a multi ton car.

A man walking by asked them if they needed help. When they explained the situation, he said, “Why don’t you just drive the car forward and let the wheels naturally roll off of the garbage can!” It didn’t matter where we were or what the occasion was, when Judy and Lily were together there was always loud laughter.


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