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Vivian's True Birth Year


Brock
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Here's what I've found going through the remains of Nancy's site.

 

It seems like Breck assisted in the research but the census information was first cracked by a list member by the name of Janet. Here is what she sent to the list when it was on the Bolis server back in 1997:

 

From ILoveLucy-Sender@bolis.com Sat Aug 16 18:56:43 1997

From: JSKulbeck@AOL.COM

Date: Sat, 16 Aug 1997 19:47:00 -0400 (EDT)

To: ILoveLucy@bolis.com

Subject: ILoveLucy: 1920 Cenus for Vivian

 

Hi all,

 

I had success with Vivian's 1920 census record. She wasn't in New Mexico in

1920, she was still in Kansas. Luckily I looked in my I Love Lucy book by

Bart Andrews and found out that her father's name was Robert A. Jones. That

made things easier. When I didn't find her in NM I figured I better try

Kansas and there she was.

 

Here is what the census says:

 

Father: Robert A. Jones - Age: 39 - Born: Kansas - Occupation - Merchant,

Grocery

Mother: May - Age: 35 - Born: Kansas

Daughter: Venus A. - Age: 14 - Born: Kansas

Daughter: Vivian R. - Age: 10 - Born: Kansas

Daughter: Dorothy M. - Age: 4 - Born: Kansas

Daughter: Maxine G. - Age: 1 - Born: Kansas

 

This census was taken January 6th, 1920. Ages listed are the persons age on

their last birthday. So that would mean that Vivian was 10 in 1919 which

makes her born in 1909. They were living in Independence Kansas on West

Maple Street in 1920.

 

I also tried to look for William Frawley, but the particular roll of

microfilm that these soundex cards were on was very light. I think I may

have found the correct card, but the information I needed to get me to the

actual census record was unreadable. I did not have time to look for Lucille

Ball. I will try her and William when I go next time. What year did Desi

arrive in the states? Was it before 1920 or after? The 1920 census is the

most recent census available to the public. They keep census records private

for 72 years, so the 1930 census won't be available until the year 2002.

 

I haven't checked my I Love Lucy tape yet, but in the I Love Lucy where Lucy

is trying to find her birth certificate and she's having the operator read

her every name in the Jamestown phone book, doesn't she mention the name

Robert A. Jones? They must have used that name for Vivian's father. (If I'm

right about that.)

 

Well, I hope this information helps everyone. It was fun finding it and I

only wish I could have found William too, but maybe next time. I guess I can

always try a different year for him.

 

Janet

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And here is Breck's contribution to the investigation a couple of days later:

 

From ILoveLucy-Sender@bolis.com Mon Aug 18 00:01:54 1997

Date: Mon, 18 Aug 1997 00:08:49 -0400 (EDT)

From: "B.Richardson" <bigk@access.digex.net>

To: JSKulbeck@aol.com

cc: ILoveLucy@bolis.com

Subject: Re: ILoveLucy: 1920 Cenus for Vivian

 

Janet,

 

Three loud cheers for Janet! This is fantastic! You are terrific! Thank

you, thank you, thank you! You obviously spent a lot of time tracking

down this information and I want you to know how much I appreciate

your efforts in doing that. Somebody tell Bart Andrews to give Janet

a call! He needs to make a couple revisions to his book. We can now

feel fully confident that Vivian Vance was born in 1909. This clearly

backs up the information Alvin Walker found in researching his book

(information that was conveyed to us by Steve). And Janet, you've

come back to us with much more information than I, at least, had

expected.

 

For example, I had no idea that Vivian's family moved from Cherryvale

to Independence, Kansas before moving to New Mexico. Of course,

that wouldn't have been such a big move as both Cherryvale and

Independence are both in Montgomery County, Kansas (Independence

is the county seat). It's quite interesting that the family was still in

Kansas in 1920. I had been under the impression that the move to

New Mexico occurred when Vivian was a really small child (of course,

if she had really been born in 1912, perhaps she would have been a

really small child when they moved to New Mexico).

 

One thing that struck me was that two of Vivian's sibling's (a sister and

a brother) were not mentioned in this census. According to Bart

Andrews' book, she had four sisters and one brother. Either that

additional sister and brother died in childhood or, more likely, they

were born after January 1920. I guess we'll have to wait until 2002 to

find out about them. I would be interested in knowing, though,

whether any of Vivian's sibling's have been tracked down by the

authors of the new book on Vivian Vance. Surely, at least a couple of

them must still be around. I would love to hear about their

recollections of Vivian.

 

Now, as I really get way off on another tangent, reading this

information Janet has provided us about Vivian's life in 1920 makes me

think about the wonder of fate and destiny (if there is such a thing).

Here it is January 1920. A 10-year-old little girl named Vivian Jones is

living with her family in Independence, Kansas. The following month,

way off in another part of the country, another little eight-year-old that

Vivian has never met, named Lucille Ball, is finally about to have some

stability in her life. Thus far in her young life, she has moved between

Detroit and Jamestown; has been abandoned by her mother who left

her for California, only to return to her in Jamestown, leave her once

more -- this time to be with her new husband -- sending Lucille to live

with a virtual stranger (her step-grandmother, who was not terribly

loving to her) while her brother was parceled out to other relatives, and

then return once again. Finally, she is about to have a few years of

stability in her life, thanks to the purchase on February 1, 1920 of a

new home in Celeron, NY by Grandpa Hunt so that the whole family

can be together.

 

Meanwhile, way off in Santiago de Cuba, little Desi Arnaz III is just a

todler, not yet three years old. Not only has he never spoken his first

word of English, but he has probably barely even started speaking

Spanish. Then there is William Frawley, the only one of the "I Love

Lucy" gang of four who is an adult at this time (about 33 years old). In

January of 1920, he is probably busy travelling around in vaudeville,

performing with his wife, Edna.

 

At this time, these four individuals, whose lives will one day become so

closely intertwined, and will eternally be linked with one another by

millions of fans, have never even laid eyes on one another. Nor have

they even heard of one another -- though it is possible, though not very

likely, that little Lucille and Vivian may have heard of William Frawley.

(Perhaps I had better go check my copy of "Laughs, Luck . . . and

Lucy" to see what Jess was up to at this time. And gee, Madelyn had

not even been born yet! As for Bob Carroll, Jr. what was he up to at

this time?)

 

In our minds, we see these people as always belonging to one another -

- at least I do. Yet in 1920, their paths were far from crossing. Who

could have even imagined that some 31 plus years down the road, these

four individuals would come together and become four of the most

recognized people in the U.S.? And who could have imagined they

would have done so via a technology called television? Heck,

television didn't even exist in 1920. For that matter, radio barely even

existed. The first regular radio broadcast was still six months down the

road. And network radio was still a couple years away from being

developed. CBS, the network that would make it all possible for our "I

Love Lucy" gang, was still 7 years away from its creation as a radio

network (William S. Paley? Who's that?). So much was yet to

happen.

 

Sometimes seems like "I Love Lucy" and the 1950s mark the beginning

of time -- that Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance and William

Frawley began their lives on that show. And that's seemed especially

so for Vivian since, until now, we've known so little about her. Her

early life has been somewhat shrouded in mystery. Now, thanks to

Janet, we know her actual whereabouts (and age) in January of 1920.

It kind of makes me want to go back in time and look for that little girl

in Independence, Kansas and say, "One day, your name will be Vivian

Vance and the whole world is going to love you."

 

Breck

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Boy did I love reading this! Not familiar with Nancy or her site...link? And it's made me wonder, aside from Lucy and Desi, when did everyone meet everyone for the first time (ie. when did Lucy and Bill first meet, when did Desi and Bill first meet, etc, etc.). Something tells me Joyce would love to know, too!

 

Thanks for the 'mention' MH; I believe Lucy and Bill met, perhaps NOT for the FIRST time; but, were in film together: Roberta, 1935; Ziegfeld Follies, 1945; have found no 'stuff' about Bill and Desi; we ALL know the story about Desi and Lucy; Viv and Desi; Viv and Lucy; meets; not found anything, at all, about Viv and Bill first meeting.

 

If you find anything, let me know....Love, JK

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