One of the things I gladly kept in the divorce was my ex-husbands longest friend. Valerie who he had grown up with and were like brother and sister. They always had each other’s back and truth be told they still have today. It is just that over the years, she and I bonded in a way that they never could have. We were the ones at home in the trenches, raising babies and putting out fires. Our friendship has had its ebbs and flows, but has always been a constant bond. Our joke that I have referred to in previous columns, is that she is Ethel to my Lucy. To understand the true hilarity to this needs some “splainin”, as Ricky would say.
Before she and her family moved out to Cheney from Wichita, we would all meet at the Pumpkin Patch in the fall, the County Fair in the summer and our house for a multi-family Christmas party on top of hour after hour of daily telephone conversations. We watched each other’s children and lent our support for all the mundane times that we call life. The first summer she moved to Cheney I ran her ragged. I “encouraged” her to join every group I was in – EHU, Women’s Bowling League…the list goes on forever. We picked fruit and made jelly, we took the kid’s on day trips and we basically lived at the public pool. I feel the need to come clean here and admit that we may have been pool bullies. We arrived every day to the “baby pool” at opening and placed our short beach chairs in the water and proceeded to sit waist deep and play with our kids for the next 5 hours. Small children avoided splashing us because they had never seen anything like it. Who were these women who were acting like they owned the place! One day I almost drowned when I wedged my rear end into an innertube and flipped upside down and couldn’t find my center of balance or yank my bottom out of the hole. Of course Lucy wasn’t able to help me at the time, because she was in hysterics.
All right, you think. You caught me. I called her Lucy by mistake. No! We have always used the Hollywood myth when naming each other. Like many other women, our weight over the years has fluctuated wildly. Legend has it that there was a clause in
“Ethel’s” contract, that required her to stay 10 pounds heavier than her costar/producer Lucy during the making of the show.
So, Lucy is a name that each of us has fought very hard to earn over the years and seems to change in the blink of an eye these days!