She was born with a ‘pep in her step’
Lucille Ball was born on August 6, 1911, in Jamestown, New York to Henry Durrell Ball and Desiree “Dede” Evelyn Ball. They had two children, Lucille and Frederick. In later years, Lucille had often claimed to be born in Butte, Montana, where her grandparents resided. Her father eventually moved her family to Montana for his work. Lucy came from poor, humble beginnings. Her father was a hard-working electrician for Bell telephone company. In her early years, Lucille saw herself as more of a tomboy figure and didn’t care for typical girly and frilly things like ribbons. She was a daddy’s girl who loved to roughhouse with her father. Her close relationship with her father fostered her rowdy and mischievous side.
Lucille had a lot of energy as a young girl and her mother often didn’t know what to do with her. In order to keep her close by while she was doing laundry, her mother would wrap a leash around her. Although it appeased her mother, Lucille was completely humiliated and would beg her mother to release her when strangers passed by. Lucille was good with crowds before she even turned four-years-old.
Her first performance was on the butcher’s counter
Lucille had a huge imagination when she was a child. Coupled with her abundance of energy, she would often stray from home by herself, causing her parents a lot of nerves and fright. In order to attempt to control her daughter, her mother made a deal with the local butcher for Ball to run up and down the street between his shop and their home. It was in his shop that Lucille first made her entertainment debut.
In her autobiography, Ball shares details of her first performance on the butcher’s counter. She would exuberantly take to the stage and perform for the customers coming into the shop to buy meat. Lucille loved to dance and twirl for them, but there was one thing she loved doing more than that and that was giving her rendition of a jumping frog. She would stick her tongue out and croak. Her fans couldn’t get enough of it and would give her some pennies or a sweet treat. Those lucky customers got a 2 for one- meat and a concert. And to think, that little girl would later be a star!