LULU ROMAN: THIS IS MY STORY, THIS IS MY SONG – by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

LULU ROMAN:  THIS IS MY STORY, THIS IS MY SONG – by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Laughter
and tears are the consistent threads woven through the zany, often misguided,
sometimes tragic and ultimately miraculously redemptive life of “Hee Haw’s”
beloved comedienne, Lulu Roman.

This year marks the 50th
Anniversary of “Hee Haw”—it doesn’t seem possible!

This
year marks the 50th anniversary of “Hee Haw” as Lulu celebrates the
release of her new autobiography, “This
Is My Story, This Is My Song
.” She has reason to feel proud of the book as
it retells the heartfelt, sometimes heartbreaking and transparently honest
story of the little orphan girl who never knew the love of a family, but grew
up to bring laughter and become “family” to millions of television viewers and
fans..

Ever wonder how Lulu became a member
of the “Hee Haw” cast?

 Lulu debuted in 1969 on the first nationally
broadcast episode of “Hee Haw” on CBS-TV with the original cast from the
“cornfield “in a production that originated from the small studio space at WTVF
Channel 5 in Nashville   LuLu had been
brought to the attention of producer Sam Luvollu who was working on assembling
the cast of what was planned by CBS as the new country version of NBC’s wildly
popular hit series of the day, “Laugh In.,” Through the recommendation of the
show’s soon-to-be new co-host, Buck Owens. Lulu recalls the trip to Los Angeles
that was arranged for her to audition—and that who but comedy legend Carol
Burnett was her first thrilling star encounter at the sprawling studios at CBS,
“The producers had told Buck they were looking for a cast that included one
gorgeous blonde, one gorgeous brunette, one boy next door type, one girl next
door, one fat dumb man, and one fat dumb woman.
Buck yelled, ‘I’ve got your fat girl!
She’s a dancer in Dallas!’ And believe it or not, at the time, I was —
all 300 lbs. of me!

How did she first realize she had the
ability of making people laugh?

“Before
I got to do ‘Hee Haw,’ I worked in Dallas night clubs for several years .It was
the era of Goldie Hawn becoming a major TV hit on Laugh In, and like her, I was
a go-go dancer! In my case—a huge one—who would act silly and make the audience
laugh. Making people laugh was something I found I could do from childhood days
on—I could always just make a face and have people falling down laughing, no
matter what kind of pain I wax in.”.

She
was 23 when the show hit the TV airwaves and Buck Owens; instincts proved to be
very right. Lulu was an instant hit! She stayed to become a household name in
America and to bring old fashioned, down home laughter to millions of viewers
from the first episode to the very last original broadcast in 1993. As “Hee
Haw” celebrates its golden 50th this year, Lulu is the only
remaining member of the original cast still living. The good news is the show, now
in reruns on RFD-TV as one of the top rated programs on the network As it
brings a fresh audience of new viewers to the old cornfield antics, so has come
a new generation of Lulu Roman fans.

From a hard beginning in life being
raised all of her formative years as an “orphan, Lulu proved she was a
survivor.

In
retrospect, there was nothing funny about being born in a home for unwed
mothers, or at the age of 4 being deposited at the Buckner Benevolent Orphanage
in Dallas. And so began the story of little Bertha Louise Hable, who would
become famous for making people laugh. Even her name was “adopted.” It came
post orphanage as a name pinned on her by one of her cellmates on an arrest
made on her for using stolen credit cards at the age of 18. Her fellow short
term inmate said she reminded her of “Little Lulu” from the comic strips.  And so an identity for her budding career was
born.

How  did she become a Christian –and what were the
circumstances?

Readers
of the new book will find painstaking honesty on an early life marked with
abandonment, broken marriages and relationships, several “busts” for drug
possessions and a long and winding road of wrong directions before Lulu found
herself. In the midst of all, the real heart of the story she shares is her
acceptance while in her 20’s of Jesus Christ as the centerpiece of her life.  Talking about the road she’s travelled, Lulu
is quick to admit that God has been the orchestrator of all that’s good in her
life. “Despite all I’ve experienced and all the bad personal choices I’ve made,
I am a living example of God’s grace,” she tells her audiences today in summing
up the hope she has that her testimony will change lives.

“When
I look back now, my life has been like a whirlwind as I went through so many
stages…stages where I can now see God’s hand as it changed my heart, my
attitudes, my opinions and choices… all for the better.”

Fans of “Hee Haw” will remember a very
different Lulu— there were real challenges in making the decision on weight
loss surgery:

And
indeed God has proven to be a life saver for her a time or two. In 2004, she
barely escaped death following complications of a gastric banding surgery. The
band had to be removed. A second lap band surgery in 2007 almost turned fatal.
“I was at a show in Texas and I had to have help even walking to the stage. I
was weak and shaking and had no idea I had developed an infection inside my
stomach, They did emergency surgery and found gangrene had developed around the
second band. When all the ordeals were over, I had lost a total of 222 pounds
but practically lost my life in the process. I can manage to find humor in it
now.  As I say in the book, ‘You might
have noticed I was once a little overweight. I was almost 400 lbs. at my
heaviest and at 5’6” I wonder if maybe I was just 4 feet too short!”

Lulu
lost her youngest son, Justin, just over two years ago. How has God
helped her on the journey through this valley that no parent wants to walk?

In
sharing her deepest moments—most recently the sudden loss of her youngest son
Justin from a heart attack at 41 in 2017—Lulu shares the deep realization pf
where the courage to live life can be found. “In the first year after Justin’s
death, I would go out to the cemetery and just lay down on his grave. You don’t
ever think it’s possible for your child to die before you.  When it happens, you don’t know how you can
go on. The only thing that gave me hope and kept me going was knowing that my
son knew Jesus.  As I still struggle some
days to trust God with my broken heart, it occurred to me: I felt my story
being told about losing my baby could help other people. I don’t know how, but
I hope they will say ‘Oh my God, she has been through what I am going through.
Broken heart and all—she is making it day by day with Jesus, and I can too.”

What does the future hold?

Lulu
continues faithfully on the road to bring laugher as well as hope. Post “Hee
Haw” life has found her receiving Christian music’s highest honor, the Dove
Award on her way to becoming a member of the Christian Music Gospel Hall of
Fame.  She has released more than 20
music projects that showcase her talent as a singer as well as her love of
music and ministry. Churches, women’s events, and gospel concerts are an
important part of her travels these days, as is comedy.  This year she has joined tour mates Buck
Trent, Jana Jae and Misty Rowe on a series of “Kornfield Friends” reunion
concerts—celebrating the 50th Anniversary of “Hee Haw” in reviving
the familiar sights, country music and gags amid the cornstalks.

Lulu
remains eternally grateful for the program that transformed her from orphan to
stardom. “The show was a wonderful time in my life because I had no family to
speak of and we became kind of like a family on ‘Hee Haw.’ We went through
marriages and divorces and deaths together—all the things life takes you
through in a real family. I don’t remember anytime anybody had a fight. We were
there to make each other look good. Everyone involved was a great support to me
when I most needed it.”

 What other activities currently bring fun to the
wonderful life of Lulu?

At
73, her life today at home in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee  is full of fun in unexpected forms! “As my
assistant, Kim, will tell you. I love to zipline when we go up to Branson and I
would do it ten times a day, everyday while we’re there if I could! It’s such a
feeling of freedom. I raise my hands and praise the Lord and sing at the top of
my lungs all the way across the line!  I’m also a crafty person and I love to make
jewelry, like button bracelets with crystal and glass.  I love to make candy at Christmas and share
it with friends. I love my three little Yorkshire terrier babies—they’re like
my grandchildren and I would so love to have a professional kennel someday to
actually breed these little sweethearts if I could. And singing—it’s still my
favorite thing to do in life. I hope that the Lord will allow me to sing until
I leave this earth. What I get to do in continuing to sing and make people
laugh is a privilege and a blessing.”

In
endorsing her book, country music great Randy Travis perhaps said it best
:  “From the very early years of my
youthful career through these days of waning ability, Lulu Roman has been an
unexplainable constant in my life…she is an angel on earth.”

And
a blessing indeed.

What do you hope readers will take
away from the new book?

The
desire to fall in love with Jesus, as I did!

How can viewers get a copy of this
book?

It
can be ordered at:www.luluromanbook.comand at Amazon.com

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