‘I Love Lucy’: A Traumatic Event Caused Lucille Ball to Avoid Pictures of Birds

I Love Lucy Star Lucille Ball described her childhood as “challenging” and marked by “death and hardship.” One incident in particular led her to avoid pictures of birds for the rest of her life.

Lucille Ball said her mother tried to ‘control her’

Ball Lucille in 1968  Max B. Miller / Fotos International / Getty Images
Ball Lucille in 1968 Max B. Miller / Fotos International / Getty Images

According to Ball, her mother, DeDe, had difficulty keeping her “under control,” so she would sometimes tie him to a dog leash and keep him in the backyard. In her book, Love, Lucy, Ball states that life became difficult for a mother during her father ‘s illness and eventual death. She was obsessed with working and raising children, so she looked for ways to keep Ball alive.

DeDe would sometimes leave Ball with the owner of a local grocery store. “My mother made final arrangements with our grocery store owner, Mr. Flower,” wrote Ball. “He let me forgive him up and down his counter reciting little bits and pieces that my parents had taught me. Apparently my favorite frog rituals where I hopped up and down doing damage. Then I would accept the pennies or candy that Mr. Flower’s customers would give me – my first professional look! ”

Why Lucille Ball avoided pictures of birds

Ball said her father died after he developed the flu and typhoid fever. She was only 28 years old and her mother was 22. Ball, who was almost 4 years old at the time, said she remembered that day vividly. After her mother told her of her father’s death, she noticed birds in the window. From that moment on, she couldn’t stand to be surrounded by anything with an image of a bird on it.

And I remember at that very moment, a picture suddenly fell off the wall. And I noticed on the kitchen window some little gray asparagus feeding. I have been superstitious about birds ever since. I’ve heard that birds that fly in the window have a right to misfortune.

I have nothing to do with live birds, but pictures of birds get me. I don’t buy anything with bird print, and I don’t stay in a hotel room with bird pictures or bird wallpaper.

Ball Lucille, Love, Lucy

Lucille Ball’s mother became very pregnant

Ball’s brother Freddy was born four months after her father’s death. She said her mother was very pregnant after giving birth. As a result, the family separated so that DeDe could take care of herself. Ball said she was jealous of Freddy at first because she was ignored, but eventually she learned to love her brother or sister.

“After Freddy’s birth, my mother became more and more depressed, and it was finally decided that she should go to California for a complete change of scenery,” Ball wrote. “Freddy stayed with my mother’s parents, while I was sent to live with my aunt Lola, my mother’s younger aunt.”

DeDe finally moved back, and the family was together again for a short time. Ball’s mother remarried, but Ball said she did not have a chance to get to know her father. DeDe and her husband moved to Detroit to look for jobs, leaving Ball and her brother behind.

Sheiresa Ngo continued Twitter.

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