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The Night Lucy, Ethel and Ricky Went to the Emmys
By Marcia Wallace

In the weeks after my darling husband Dennis died, I either worked or lied on my couch and watched mindless talk shows. And we're talking mindless here. Let me put it this way: Jerry Springer was too intellectual for me. The day I realized I was no longer interested in alien lesbian grandmothers, I knew I was getting better.

And then something wonderful happened. One Friday morning in July, my friend Rosanna called and said, "Congratulations! You won an Emmy." I, of course, said, "What a cruel thing to say to a widow," but I'll be damned if it wasn't true. I won an Emmy for outstanding voice-over performance for my role as the semi-lovely Edna Krabappel, Bart's teacher on The Simpsons, which really thrilled me, since I'm so proud to be a part of such a terrific show. It was somewhat bittersweet, since my sweetie wasn't here to share the celebration, and I decided to go to the Emmys with Julie Kavner (she plays Marge Simpson) and her husband David Davis (he created The Bob Newhart Show), two dear friends of long standing.

So I flew back from Missouri, where I was doing the female Odd Couple with Dawn Wells, rented me a nice sparkly dress, dug my beaded evening bag out of my son Mikey's Ninja Turtle sewer set (it was an interesting fashion choice for Donatello), and awaited the limo. Then I started to think (all this human interest stuff will make sense later), "Gee, it's a long ride to the beach to pick up the others; maybe I should pack me some snacks." So I did, in a Bloomingdale's shopping bag. (You can take the girl out of Iowa, but you can't take Iowa out of the girl.)

So we drive to the beach, pick up Julie and David, and head for the ceremonies in Pasadena. The driver knew a shortcut (I believe it was through Utah) and after we polished off the contents of my Bloomie's bag, we finally arrived, Late and Hungry (my attorneys), only to discover that there would be no food or drink until after the awards, lest someone overdo it. So we had tables of grown people fighting over the only appetizers provided -- stale chips and flat 7-Up. Some guy pulled a peach out of his pocket and was almost attacked. About two hours into the ceremony, I started to laugh. I suddenly got this image of my darling Dennis sitting there in his tuxedo, starving; this could actually be the one night when he was just as glad to be dead. I laughed for ten minutes and then, of course, burst into tears.

Anyway, it did end, and we took off for my friends' fabulous restaurant in Pasadena, where I proceeded to eat lots of rich food and drink lots of red wine, not an easy task, since I never put down my Emmy. We got in the limo and David, dear David, who doesn't get out much, and when he does wants to make the most of it, kept saying, "Hey, it's early; let's go for pizza," which did not excite me or my stomach, and I said, "Excuse me, I'll be throwing up now." Which is what I did, in the aforementioned empty shopping bag.

Now, I am a woman who hates to litter, but on this point my limo-mates were adamant. As I opened the door of the limo at one in the morning in downtown L.A., I came face-to-face with a street person who had this brief look of glee on his face, as if to say "Wow, rich people are throwing Bloomingdales' bags out of limos. This is my lucky day." And then I did something I thought I would never do again. I started to laugh and I laughed and I laughed. I laughed until my shoes were wet. I always loved what Norman Cousins said … "Laughter is the only wall between us and the dark." And on that night, that crazy night when Lucy and Ethel and Ricky went to the Emmys my heart started to open up just a little bit. And the healing began.

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