There has been success in softening up the gruff, and diligent ways of uncle Henry Lunceford. The plan has worked, and today Lum reads the victory letter to Mary and Abner, declaring the gents are now her legal guardians. A celebration picnic is planned, even if it means closing the store early, and declaring the day a holiday.
Phone calls are made to invite Lizabeth, Cedric, and more friends. He’s so excited, Abner even promises Lizabeth he’ll help her with her woman’s work. He’ll hold the lantern, while she chops firewood in the morning! The growing friend list presents a problem. Do they have enough ration stamps to pick up all the food items? How many people will fit into Cedric’s car? Some may need to stand on the running boards.
Mary has become so popular in town, , the gents bow out of going to their own picnic to make room for her friends. Is this something they’ll need to get used to?
Note: Cute ending, but I’m not sure I like it. The implication is that Mary could become a regular. The reality is that Lurene Tuttle was at the peak of her career, and wildly popular on the radio. Summer hiatus is about over. How will the gents be responsible to keep writing in this new character into the scripts? A child they just won permanent custody over? I’ll bet you can sense, just as I do, a convenient fade out, with Mary never being mentioned again, and not appearing any more. Honestly, it does an injustice to the story. I know, it’s all fiction, but a better ending that has Mary parting ways, going to a new home, a new family, or otherwise a tearfully happy ending would make better sense in the long term, bigger picture to the story. I loved this story the character of Mary, and the life that Lurene Tuttle brought to the show. I think if I were to be able to write a different ending, a mysterious benefactor would show up to win custody, and there would still be some tearjerking moments, even for the tough old uncle Henry.
PS: A tiny spoiler alert. The scripts in the coming days try to mention Mary as an off screen character, similar to how Lizabeth is handled, but eventually, she fades into memory.