Episode Synopses - Season 1

Season 2 | Season 3 | Season 4 | Season 5 | Season 6 | Season 7 | Season 8 | Season 9 | Specials
  1. The Foundling
  2. The Carnival
  3. The Calf
  4. The Hunt
  5. The Typewriter
  6. The Star
  7. The Sinner
  8. The Boy From The CCC
  9. The Ceremony
  10. The Legend
  11. The Literary Man
  12. The Dust Bowl Cousins
  13. The Reunion
  14. The Minstrel
  15. The Actress
  16. The Fire
  17. The Love Story
  18. The Courtship
  19. The Gypsies
  20. The Deed
  21. The Scholar
  22. The Bicycle
  23. The Townie
  24. The Easter Story
I offer these synopses in the desire that they may provide a respectful, though totally inadequate tribute to what I regard as the finest series of family programs to be seen on television worldwide.

You may like to know that the paragraphs in quotes at the beginning and ending of each synopsis are the actual words as spoken by Earl Hamner on the soundtracks. They are included for your additional enjoyment.

It is my sincere hope that reading these pages will enable you to recall many favorite moments from this series.

Arthur Dungate,
September 1997.

  1. THE FOUNDLING (14 Sep 1972)
    Writer: John McGreevey. Director: Vincent Sherman. Music: Jerry Goldsmith.

    "When I was growing up during the Depression I lived with my red-headed brothers and sisters, my parents and grandparents at the foot of a mountain which had been in our family for generations. My father used to say that in our house there was always room for one more. And I remember one morning when his hospitality was put to a challenging test".

    A six-year old deaf and dumb girl is abandoned on the Walton's doorstep. With loving care they teach her to "talk" with sign language. But their kindness to the foundling causes a family crisis. Elizabeth, playing hide-and-seek with the deaf and dumb girl Holly, runs into an old abandoned shack and hides inside an empty trunk, but the lid falls shut and locks itself. Holly sees what has happened and runs to get help but is picked up by her father who doesn't understand sign language and takes her away. John and the family pursue and Holly then tells them by sign language what has occurred, and Elizabeth is rescued in time. Holly's parents now realise that their little girl is not retarded and are now able to communicate with her.

    "Those were lean years, and for many Americans a harsh and bitter time. On Waltons Mountain we were sustained with poems and gingerbread and laughter and sharing, but most of all by a remarkable mother and father. The house in which we were born and raised is still there, still home, and on the winds that sigh along those misted blue ridged mountains our voices must echo still".

    Ben: John Boy, you awake?
    John-Boy: What'd you want, Ben?
    Ben: Are you going to marry Marcia Woolery?
    John-Boy: You want me to?
    Ben: She makes good gingerbread.
    John-Boy: Huh huh. Well I'll think about it. Goodnight now.
    Ben: Goodnight.

    Also appearing -
    Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Marcia Woolery (Tami Bula); Sheriff Bridges (John Crawford); Anson Collier (Richard Melton); Ruth Collier (Charlotte Stewart); Holly (Erica Hunton).

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  2. THE CARNIVAL (21 Sep 1972)
    Writer: Nigel McKeand. Director: Alf Kjellin. Music: Arthur Moreton.

    "Few strangers ever came to Waltons Mountain. We got our news of the outside world from the radio or from an occasional copy of a magazine. But I remember when I was about 17 four visitors arrived and gave me my first unexpected glimpse of the other world beyond our mountain".

    The children had saved up so they could go and see the carnival, but when Grandma breaks her glasses, they agree to donate their money to pay for the repair of the spectacles. The Sheriff tells them the carnival Proprietor has run out and left four of the people stranded. The children find them living in a barn nearby and the Waltons give them food, and arrange for them to hitch a ride on a freight train one night. Earlier that evening the carnival folk, to thank them for their kindness, invite them to the barn for an impromptu show, and one of them gives John-Boy a book (Moby Dick). Then the Walton family take them to the railroad depot.

    "And so the carnival people left Waltons Mountain. The postcard we received from them said they'd arrived safely in Chicago and were working at the World's Fair. Some years later, when I left to go to college, the book which Tommy gave me was one of the possessions I took with me. Now, whenever I open it I remember those four people who gave a 17 year old boy his first glimpse of the outside world".

    Elizabeth: John-Boy?
    John-Boy: What is it?
    Elizabeth: You think they'll ever come back?
    John-Boy: I don't know, Elizabeth.
    Elizabeth: I wish I could see that lady walk along the rope again.
    John-Boy: One day maybe.
    Elizabeth: Hope so, goodnight, John-Boy.
    John-Boy: Goodnight, Elizabeth.

    Note: Alf Kjellin, the director of this episode, appeared as the Soviet commander in "Ice Station Zebra".
    Also appearing -
    Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Sheriff Bridges (John Crawford)

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  3. THE CALF (28 Sep 1972)
    Writer: Jim Byrnes. Director: Harry Harris. Music: Alexander Courage.

    "Waltons Mountain was an everlasting presence in our lives. Whenever I could, when I was growing up there during the Depression years, I would climb its slopes. Up there I could get lost in dreams, dreams of becoming a writer, of becoming a man. I knew no writers so I had no writer to model myself after, but as a boy aspiring to manhood I had only to follow in the footsteps of a remarkable father".

    The struggle to make enough to live on becomes even tougher for the Waltons. And John faces a distressing situation.... The axle on his truck breaks and he needs 9 dollars for a new one. Chance, the cow gives birth to a calf, but it's a bull and has to be sold to pay for the new axle. Although the children have got very fond of the calf, John sells it for 9 dollars to Mr Anderson, a nearby farmer. Over the next few days Chance bellows continuously and the children want the calf back, but Mr Anderson now wants 12 dollars to sell it back, and when he says it's going to be slaughtered for beef, Jim Bob and Elizabeth take the calf one night and hide it in a cave. They are found and brought home but Mr Anderson has called the Sheriff. Finally a deal is made in which the children will work out the extra 3 dollars by doing repairs and chores for the farmer.

    "It was a fine thing to know such people, and to be one of them, and to share in their abundant love. It was a poor time, but in it we were richer than we knew. Forty years have passed, but the voices from that house are as fresh as yesterday".

    Elizabeth: Mama.
    Olivia: Yes Elizabeth.
    Elizabeth: You asleep?
    Olivia: Almost.
    Elizabeth: You reckon Chance is asleep?
    Olivia: Ha, wouldn't surprise me.
    Elizabeth: Goodnight, Mama.
    Olivia: Goodnight Elizabeth.

    Also appearing -
    Sheriff Bridges (John Crawford); George Anderson (Leonard Stone).

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  4. THE HUNT (5 Oct 1972)
    Writer: John McGreevey. Director: Robert Butler. Music: Arthur Moreton.

    "A mountain has no need for people, but people do need mountains. We go to them for their beauty, for the exhilaration of standing closer to mysterious skies, for the feeling of triumph that comes from having labored to reach a summit, and I remember a day in the 1930s when I went to Waltons Mountain in search of manhood".

    John-Boy dreads the thought of killing any living creature. Yet he feels he is now old enough to help with the necessary task of providing fresh meat desperately needed for the Waltons' larder - and volunteers for a turkey shoot. But John-Boy's real test is when the moment comes to pull the trigger. When he has a turkey in his sights he finds he cannot shoot it. He feels a coward but his father disagrees. A little while later a wounded bear attacks his father and John-Boy shoots the bear dead, saving his father's life.

    Mary Ellen is saving up for a baseball glove but when she finally has enough money for it, buys a dress instead, as her boyfriend GW has started to go out with another girl. She then realises that the dress doesn't suit her. Ike Godsey exchanges it for the glove, and she and GW continue to play together.

    "I became not a hunter but a writer and I hope a source of some pride to my father. For to be a good hunter or a good writer one must know why he hunts or why he writes. And the "why-of-it-all" for me lies in that house and in the memory of voices that rise in the night and will sweetly haunt my life for ever".

    Elizabeth: John-Boy.
    John-Boy: What you want, Elizabeth?
    Elizabeth: Are you asleep yet?
    John-Boy: Not yet.
    Elizabeth: What' you doing?
    John-Boy: Thinking.
    Elizabeth: I'm proud you killed the bear, John-Boy.
    John-Boy: Me too.
    Elizabeth: Goodnight John-Boy.
    John-Boy: 'Night, honey.

    Also appearing -
    Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); GW Haines (David Doremus).

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  5. THE TYPEWRITER (12 Oct 1972)
    Writer: Theodore Apstein. Director: Philip Leacock. Music: Jerry Goldsmith.

    "From the very beginning when I thought of writing, it was about my family, our home, and Waltons Mountain. This was my world, the only kind of life I knew well enough to tell people about. I remember a day in the 1930s when I finally felt ready to show one of my stories to someone for the very first time".

    The schoolteacher Miss Hunter read it and liked it and suggested it be submitted to a magazine for publication. John-Boy mails it to a New York magazine and impatiently waits for a reply. Grandma tells him she comes from a family of story-tellers and she will tell all her stories to him as her inheritance to him. At last he gets a reply but the story is returned as the publisher will not accept handwritten manuscripts. He's dejected but Grandpa remembers that the Baldwin sisters had an old typewriter. They allow him to borrow their treasured possession but, knowing his mother wouldn't approve of him borrowing something from "two old ladies who made moonshine whisky", John-Boy hides it in a box in the shed. Then, when the junk man calls, Mary Ellen sells the contents of the closet in the shed.... They track down the junk man, who in turn has sold it.... John-Boy finally faces the Baldwins, who graciously suffer the loss. John-Boy's story is rejected, but the publishers would like to see more of his work. His disappointment is reduced when he finds that Mary Ellen has tracked down the typewriter and has bought it back.

    "My family managed to turn my first rejection slip into some sort of victory. I started typing again that evening and I've been typing stories ever since, but no typewriter ever came to mean as much to me, as that old machine I borrowed from Miss Mamie and Miss Emily Baldwin".

    John: Bed time, son. Lights out pretty soon?
    John-Boy: Just finish this sentence, Daddy.

    Also appearing -
    the Baldwin sisters (Mary Jackson & Helen Kleeb); Miss Hunter (Mariclaire Costello); Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Sheriff Bridges (John Crawford); junk man (George Tobias).

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  6. THE STAR (19 Oct 1972)
    Writer: John McGreevey. Director: Alf Kjellin. Music: Jerry Goldsmith.

    "Waltons Mountain is as old as the earth itself. For countless centuries it has quietly shouldered the sky above the land on which our family settled, built and flourished. Through all its seasons, through all the great and small events of our lives the mountain was changeless, as fixed and as permanent as the glittering stars above. And then there was an evening in the 1930s which started all of us wondering how fixed or permanent anything is, - even a star".

    They see a "star" fall from the sky and find that a small meteor has gone through the Baldwin sister's roof. Grandpa thinks it's an omen and takes to his bed. The Baldwin's cousin Polonius comes to take charge of "promoting" the &quotstar". John goes to see the Baldwins and finds that the real intention of Cousin Polonius and his friend is to get hold of the recipe machine for themselves. He takes the meteor to show Grandpa and tells him what he's discovered. Faced with the prospect of losing the recipe, Grandpa immediately gets up, goes to the Baldwins and convinces them the star is really a sign of good fortune. When he mentions that the Sheriff is coming over, the two con-men depart....

    At school, Ben receives a medal for being the best scholar in his class.

    "It was not every day that a star fell on Waltons Mountain, but nearly every day brought some small miracle - the beauty of the turning seasons, the wonder of growth, and the constant revelation of all that lies in the human heart. Over it all loomed the unfailing love of our mother and father, more constant than the stars in their courses".

    Elizabeth: What holds the stars up in the sky?
    Jim Bob: They're stuck up there on something.
    Elizabeth: What makes them fall?
    Jim Bob: Oh they burn out like electric light bulbs.
    Elizabeth: How come you're so much smarter than me?
    Jim Bob: I'm older.
    Elizabeth: Goodnight, Jim Bob.
    Jim Bob: Goodnight Elizabeth.

    Note: This episode explains the Baldwin's recipe making. Also, note that John-Boy has no typewriter, nor does it appear again in the series.....
    Also appearing -
    the Baldwin sisters (Mary Jackson & Helen Kleeb); Miss Hunter (Mariclaire Costello); Cousin Polonius (Iggie Wolfington).

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  7. THE SINNER (26 Oct 1972)
    Writer: John Furie Jnr. Director: Philip Leacock. Waltons Theme: Jerry Goldsmith.

    "I remember a day in hot summer back during the Depression when we all wished Waltons Mountain was a mile higher so its cool shade would reach us sooner. Growing up in those long-gone days I took for granted the discomfort of a hot summer, but as a novice writer I took it as my duty to question other things, like sin, and what made a sinner. Trouble was no one seemed to agree".

    A young preacher, Matthew Fordwick comes to stay with the Waltons for a few days. Olivia, a God-fearing Baptist, is pleased and proud to have the new minister as her guest. But when he keeps shouting Bible verses at the children, John orders him to stop, but he feels that four years of study have taught him how he should preach. When he finds that the Baldwin sisters are distant relations he pays them a visit, partakes of the recipe, and gets drunk. Later that afternoon he arrives at the tent which has been put up outside Ike Godsey's store for an all-day service, but can't stand up. He's put to bed to sleep it off. Miss Prissom, the strict visiting missionary who has brought him to the district is outraged and won't accept his apology. Utterly discouraged he feels he must give up the ministry, but John councels him and brings him to the service where the minister admits to the people that he, too, is a sinner, and is accepted by them.

    Yancy Tucker comes into the barn one night, drunk, and sets it on fire, but John-Boy, having given up his room to the minister, is sleeping in there and gives the alarm in time.

    "The memory of those days is with me still. It makes me laugh sometimes to think how innocent a boy I was, sometimes cruel, and pompous, and sometimes loving and wise like my parents. And remembering those long-gone days I'm grateful they were mine".

    Ben: John-Boy? D'you think I could be a preacher when I grow up?
    John-Boy: You want to be?
    Ben: That's what I need to ask you about.
    John-Boy: Well what, Ben?
    Ben: Is a preacher allowed to like liquorish whip as much as praying?
    John-Boy: I wouldn't let that stop you, Ben. Goodnight, now.
    Ben: Goodnight.

    Note: This is the first time in the series Jason plays the piano.
    John Ritter who plays Rev. Fordwick is the son of Tex Ritter the singing cowboy of many Hollywood westerns.
    Also appearing -
    the Baldwin sisters (Mary Jackson & Helen Kleeb); Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Matthew Fordwick (John Ritter); Yancy Tucker (Robert Donner); Miss Prissom (Collin Wilcox Horne).

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  8. THE BOY FROM THE CCC (2 Nov 1972)
    Writer: William Welch. Director: Harry Harris. Music: Jerry Goldsmith.

    "There was beauty on Waltons Mountain at any time of the year, but looking back the time I treasure most is Spring, when the days were growing longer and the promise of Summer was ahead. They were the kind of days made for dreaming, but being the oldest of seven children during the Depression didn't leave much time for daydreams. I remember a morning in the 1930s when I had been sent to oversee the buying of a pair of shoes for my youngest sister Elizabeth".

    On the way back, Reckless the dog chases after a racoon and they come across a boy in the woods who's hurt his ankle. He's Gino, who comes from the grim slum area of New York and has run away from a juvenile community camp. The Waltons take him in, but with his upbringing he cannot easily respond to kindness which he misunderstands and resents, and is caught one night stealing money from the kitchen. John is going to turn him over to the Sheriff but when the racoon which Elizabeth has kept in a cage gets ill and dies, Gino comforts her and John gives him another chance. Gino decides to return to the camp.

    "For a while after he left Gino used to write to us, at first from the CCC camp, and later from New York City where he returned when the Depression was over. Today where the CCC camp once stood is a National Park, and in Autumn when the leaves are gold and russet and lemon yellow and apple red, people drive for hundreds of miles to refresh their souls and their spirit with beauty".

    Elizabeth: John-Boy.
    John-Boy: Yes honey?
    Elizabeth: Do flowers talk?
    John-Boy: I don't know Elizabeth, why?
    Elizabeth: I kissed a hollyhock today, I thought I heard something whisper. What do you think?
    John-Boy: I think if we learnt to listen we could hear all kinds of miracles.
    Elizabeth: Goodnight, John-Boy.
    John-Boy: Goodnight.

    Also appearing -
    Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Gino (Michael Rupert).
    Note: CCC = Civilian Conservation Corps.

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  9. THE CEREMONY (9 Nov 1972)
    Writer: Nigel McKeand. Director: Vincent Sherman. Music: Jerry Goldsmith.

    "When I was growing up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia during the Depression of the 1930s times were often difficult and unsure, but I don't think any of us ever realised how safe and secure our lives really were until that summer when a family arrived on Waltons Mountain from Germany".

    They were Professor Mann, his wife Eva and their young son Paul, who had fled from Nazi persecution. Due to a series of mishaps and misunderstandings they began to think that persecution was starting here too. Professor Mann decided that they must conceal that they were Jews and not observe any of their customs, not even their son's Barmiztpha. When Paul runs away it is Grandpa Walton who straightens it all out and the ceremony for their son's 13th birthday is held in the Walton's house.

    "By the end of that summer Professor Mann had found a position in the History Department of a University in a nearby town. That was nearly 40 years ago, but the house in which we grew up is still there and my mother lives in it today. Often I go there in memory and hear again those voices from long ago".

    Ben: Mama?
    Olivia: Yes, Ben.
    Ben: How did Jews get to be Jews, and Baptists get to be Baptists?
    Olivia: By following in their fathers footsteps.
    Ben: If we follow in Daddy's footsteps what would we be?
    Olivia: You'll be a fine man. (whispers) John?
    John: Huh.
    Olivia: When are you going to get yourself baptised?
    John: Now Livy, this is no time of night to start that......
    Olivia: Goodnight.
    John: 'Night honey.

    Also appearing -
    Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Professor Mann (Noah Keen); Eva Keen (Ellen Geer); Paul Mann (Radames Pera).

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  10. THE LEGEND (16 Nov 1972)
    Writer: John McGreevey. Director: Lee Philips. Waltons Theme: Jerry Goldsmith.

    "Usually each family has its own special folk-lore, stories and anecdotes polished smooth with the telling. The setting for most of our legends was Waltons Mountain, but one favoured part of our folk-lore took place far from the mountain when my father had served overseas in what was then called the Great War. To us children my father's stories of the places he'd seen and the men he'd known were endlessly fascinating. And then one day a legend came to visit us".

    A telegram arrives saying that John's old war buddy "Tip" Harrison is coming to see them. He arrives and enthralls them all with his stories. Jason is given charge of a bonfire to look after and put out which he does, but afterwards Tip comes by and throws a cigarette down which starts a fire for which Jason is blamed. Later they go into the woods to chase a fox which has been stealing chickens. Tip hears something ahead of him and fires, and finds he's wounded Reckless the dog. He panics and says nothing. He makes his farewells and drives off but his conscience forces him to stop along the road where John and John-Boy come by with the truck. Tip confesses what he's done. The rest of them search for the dog, finding him and bringing him home just before dark. John doesn't let on how he knew, and admires Jason for not speaking up about the fire.

    "The gallant gesture made in the face of great danger, the flamboyant exploit that shocks and delights, these are the usual materials for building a legend, but as I was growing up I was privileged to watch the day by day growth of another kind of legend, fashioned out of long years of bone-tiring work, good humor in the face of daily hardship, and unfailing patience, understanding and love, the quiet legend of John Walton, my father".

    Elizabeth: As I lay me down to sleep I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Mama, what is my soul?
    Olivia: It's your spirit, darling.
    Elizabeth: Well that explains something.
    Olivia: What's that, Elizabeth?
    Elizabeth: I always wondered what the Lord wanted with a piece of my shoe!
    Olivia (laughing): Goodnight, Elizabeth.
    Elizabeth: Goodnight, Mama.

    Also appearing -
    "Tip" Harrison (James Antonio).

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  11. THE LITERARY MAN (30 Nov 1972)
    Writer: Colley Kibber. Director: Philip Leacock. Music: Jerry Goldsmith.

    "Growing up on Waltons Mountain in those depression years when times were lean and money was scarce I learned early that hard work was a central fact of life and a key to survival. I wasn't afraid of work, but above everything else I wanted to be a writer. Gripping a book, reading and re-reading the wonderfully colored sentences, this was as close as I could get to another writer, until one afternoon I met someone who showed me the way I must take to be a literary man".

    A.J.Covington, a wandering writer, stays for a while, helps at the mill, and encourages John-Boy in his writing not to search for one big story, but write down all the little things about his life, family and the nearby town. Having had some experience working in a hospital he's able to diagnose Jim Bob's stomach pain as acute appendicitis and Jim Bob is rushed to hospital for an emergency operation which is successful. A.J. had sold his watch to Ike Godsey in order to make a down payment on an empty house he'd seen, but decides instead to leave the money to pay for the operation.

    "We never saw nor heard from A.J.Covington again.* He wandered into our lives, touched them and wandered away. Often when I face the silent challenge of a blank piece of paper I remember the literary man and the advice he gave me. I struggled to keep faith with him and set down the small things, the seemingly trivial things which perhaps taken all together will eventually give at least some suggestion of the love and sacrifice and joy, that sustained one family who lived out the Depression at the foot of Waltons Mountain".

    Jason: Mama?
    Olivia: Yes, Jason?
    Jason: I got a sharp hurt in my side. You reckon I could be getting appendicitis?
    Olivia: I hope not. Try turning on your back.
    Jason: It's alright Mama.
    Olivia: Hurt gone?
    Jason: I was laying on my harmonica.
    Olivia (laughing): Goodnight, Jason.
    Jason: Goodnight, Mama.

    * Note: A.J.Covington appears a second time (in The Abdication - season 4, when he is played by george Dzundza).
    This episode won for Gene Fowler Jnr., Marjorie Fowler & Anthony Wollmer an Emmy for Cinematography for a Single Episode of a Drama Series.
    Also appearing -
    Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Sheriff Bridges (John Crawford); Dr Vance (Victor Izay); A.J.Covington (David Huddlestone).

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  12. THE DUST BOWL COUSINS (7 Dec 1972)
    Writer: Paul Savage. Director: Robert Butler. Music: Alexander Courage.

    "Whenever I look back to those days when I was growing up in the great Depression I'm always convinced that I came from a remarkable family. It wasn't that my brothers and sisters and I were sheltered from the realities of those difficult times, it was simply that our mother and father had a way of making more of what we had and less of what we didn't have".

    The Denbys - Ham, his wife Cora, and their son Job are a family of shiftless dishonest scroungers. They are also distant kinfolk of the Waltons who, in spite of their own desperate poverty, agree to take the Denbys into their home on a strickly temporary basis. But Ham knows when he's onto a good thing and has no intention of moving on. It's only when Job is discovered making trouble with Mary Ellen, and has a fight with John-Boy that Cora realises it's time to move on.

    "We heard from Cora a few times after they left. They settled finally in up-state New York in a place called the Mohawk valley and they did all right farming. Grandpa used to say that Ham must have learned one of the Walton secrets in spite of himself - that the world wasn't like the song said "just a bowl of cherries" but that you had to go out and climb the tree, and bark your shins a few times doing it, and pick those cherries yourself".

    Mary Ellen: John-Boy?
    John-Boy: Huh?
    Mary Ellen: I'm much obliged to you.
    John-Boy: Goodnight, Mary Ellen.
    Mary Ellen: Tonight I stuck my pin in my geography book and it came down on Larkspur California. Wouldn't that be a fair place to see?
    John-Boy: I guess so. Goodnight Mary Ellen.
    Mary Ellen: Goodnight.

    Also appearing -
    Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Yancy Tucker (Robert Donner); Ham Denby (Warren Vanders); Cora Denby (Jay MacIntosh); Job Denby (Ken Wolger).
    Note: This episode won an award given by the Directors Guild of America for the Best Direction in a Dramatic Series.

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  13. THE REUNION (14 Dec 1972)
    Writer: Earl Hamner. Director: Jack Shea. Waltons theme: Jerry Goldsmith.

    "Waltons Mountain had been in our family for generations, a silent witness to all the bright and wonderful days I knew as a boy. If mountains remember events then surely it must treasure as I do the memory of that day during the Depression when my sister Mary Ellen got into a fight after school and the events that followed".

    She'd stood up to a boy who was teasing Jim Bob for wearing second-hand cut-down clothes. John-Boy, hoping to earn some money to buy an old washing machine for his mother, does some work for the Baldwins who's cousin Homer has come to visit. John-Boy and Grandpa use the truck to take the Baldwins provisions. After Grandpa has some of the recipe they take the Baldwins into town to see a "talking picture". Homer puts a heavy suitcase in the back, doesn't go into the cinema with them but sells his load of recipe to a lady acquaintance. Later that night Olivia and John go searching for them, arriving back home to find the Sheriff waiting for them. He tells them Homer has a record of law-breaking.

    The Baldwins plan to have a family reunion and send out 127 invitations, also making a lot of the recipe in readiness. Next day while John-Boy is working at the Baldwins, Homer borrows the truck, and they discover all the stock of recipe is missing. Nearly all the invitations are returned marked "moved" or "address not known". John-Boy tells his family that the Baldwin sisters are very upset and all alone, so they all go over there and make it a happy evening for them. Later John-Boy buys the washing machine as a present for his mother.

    "When we were living through them we called them bad times and thought that we were poor. Only after we had all grown up were we to realise what good times they had been and how very rich we were. Often in memory I return to that house and to the echoes of those voices".

    John: You asleep?
    Olivia: Not yet.
    John: Thinking about today?
    Olivia: I was thinking about them all growing up, getting married, leaving us.
    John: Um, you can't keep them for ever.
    Olivia: I know.
    John: 'Night Livy.
    Olivia: 'Night.

    Note: This episode explains the Baldwin sisters and their "recipe".
    Also appearing -
    the Baldwin sisters (Mary Jackson & Helen Kleeb); Sheriff Bridges (John Crawford); Homer (Denver Pyle).

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  14. THE MINSTREL (21 Dec 1972)
    Writer: John Furia Jr. Director: Philip Leacock. Music: Arthur Moreton.

    "When I was growing up back in those distant Depression years I always seemed to be a year or two younger than I wanted to be, and a year or two older than my parents thought I was. It tried my patience for a long time, until one day something happened to my sister Mary Ellen that helped me understand those feelings in myself".

    One day running along the lane she collides with Jamie, a young travelling minstrel. Later that night after a row with her parents she runs out and finds Jamie who has camped nearby. He wants to go and see Maud Gormley to write down the old songs she sings and Mary Ellen takes him while the rest of the family work hard picking an orchard of apples, where John-Boy falls off a ladder breaking a bone in his wrist. Mary Ellen feels trapped in her home surroundings and Jamie's free life style attracts her so she runs off with him but is disillusioned when he says she's just a kid, so she runs away from him and John-Boy brings her back home. As she's had an emotional upset, all the family put part of their share of the money from the apple picking into sending her on a trip to Washington.

    "My sister Mary Ellen went to Washington DC and she saw enough new things to satisfy her craving for adventure for a long time. I looked at her with new eyes after that night because I realised she was no longer a child. I grew up too of course and left Waltons Mountain, but the love and warmth I knew in that special family was like a pebble dropped in water that ripples through my life to this day".

    Jim Bob: Mama?
    Olivia: Yes, Jim Bob?
    Jim Bob: Where d'you reckon Mary Ellen is right this minute?
    Olivia: Where do think she is?
    Jim Bob: At the White House.
    Erin: Having tea with Mrs Roosevelt.
    Jason: I bet she's having tea with Mr Roosevelt.
    John-Boy: Probably telling him how to run things!
    John: In that case the country's in good hands! 'Night everybody.
    Everyone: 'Night Daddy.

    Also appearing -
    Maud Gormley (Merie Earle); Jamie (Peter Hooten).

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  15. THE ACTRESS (4 Jan 1973)
    Writer: William Best. Director: Vincent Sherman. Music: Jerry Goldsmith.

    "When I was growing up on Waltons Mountain I used to dream of all the faraway places I would one day visit. New York City captured my imagination most completely because it was a Mecca for young aspiring artists and writers. I wasn't to stray that far from home for several years but I was due for a special preview. One day without any warning a New York hurricane hit our peaceful community".

    A famous stage and screen actress Alvira Drummond is stranded when her car breaks down. As it will take some time to repair the Waltons invite her to stay with them. Her hard luck story about her driver running off with all her money is found to be false, and her agent has disowned her. When she inadvertently hears some home truths spoken by Olivia she comes to her senses and faces the true situation. To raise money for her train fare to New York, the family arrange for her to give a performance in Ike Godsey's store for the folk living in the county. Before a rapt audience she ends her performance with a reading from John-Boy's journal.

    Extract from John-Boy's journal "From Waltons Mountain" -

               At night across the mountain when darkness falls 
               and the winds sweep down out of the hollows
               the wild things with their shiny eyes
               come to the edge of the clearing.
               At such an hour the house seems safe and warm
               an island of light and love in a sea of darkness.
               At such an hour the word "home" must have come into being
               dreamed up by some creature that never knew a home.
               In his yearning there must have come to mind
               the vision of a mother's face,
               a father's deep voice,
               the aroma of fresh baked bread,
               sunshine in a window,
               the muted sounds of rain on a roof,
               the sigh of death,
               the cry of a newborn babe,
               and voices calling "goodnight".
               Home, an island, a refuge, a haven of love.

    "Alvira Drummond was to entertain audiences again on the New York stage, but I doubt if she ever found an audience as appreciative as that group in Ike Godsey's store on Waltons Mountain".

    Erin: Mama, Mary Ellen's been crazy again, acting like she's sticking a knife in her stomach and flopping all over the floor and pretending she's dead.
    Mary Ellen: You don't know acting when you see it. I'm being Juliet.
    Olivia: Settle down there, girls.
    Mary Ellen: Mama d'you think I could be an actress when I grow up?
    Olivia: I think you could be anything you want to be, doll.
    Mary Ellen: Goodnight Mama.
    Olivia: Goodnight, Mary Ellen.

    Note: Fanny Tatum, the telphone operator appears briefly (played by Dorothy Neuman). When the character returns later in the series (Season 5) she is played by Sheila Allen.
    This episode was nominated for an Emmy for the Make Up. The make up artist involved was Robert A. Sidell.
    Also appearing -
    Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Sheriff Bridges (John Crawford); the Baldwin sisters (Mary Jackson & Helen Kleeb); Alvira Drummond (Pippa Scott).

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  16. THE FIRE (11 Jan 1973)
    Writer: Earl Hamner. Director: Harry Harris. Music: Jerry Goldsmith.

    "Most of us on Waltons Mountain prided ourselves on our friendly hospitality, our family's good name, and our dignity as individuals, but in a remote hollow lived a man named Lutie Bascomb with his daughter Lois May. If Lutie prided himself on anything, it was his cussedness".

    Because his wife had left him, Lutie doesn't trust his daughter Lois May and even orders her to walk out of school when the teacher Miss Hunter talks about prehistoric man. Then he comes into the classroom and threatens Miss Hunter. Later that night he breaks into the school and sets fire to it, falling down into the flames in a drunken stupor. Afer the school burns down the Sheriff goes looking for Lutie and finds Lois May at home, bruised and battered. In the morning the body of Lutie is found in the ruins of the school. Olivier makes enquiries about Lois May's mother, who comes and is re-united with her daughter.

    "I can only ask you to take my word for the end of the story of Lois May Bascomb for truth is far stranger than fiction. I was to meet her many years later when she had become not a scientist but the wife of a diplomat. She now lives abroad and I expect that sometimes her memories as mine do, return to those Depression years, and Waltons Mountain" .

    Grandpa: Esther you know that shoe Miss Emily lost? I found it today, and she offered me a reward.
    Grandma: What did she offer?
    Grandpa: A kiss, or some of the Recipe.
    Grandma: And which one did you choose?
    Grandpa: Both!
    Grandma: You old fool! (Grandpa chuckles).

    Extract from John Boy's journal -

            "The house is hushed now, the hour is late, the night is
             still except for a whipperwill that calls from the crabapple tree.
             In the kitchen I hear the voices of my mother and father as
             they speak quiet private things to each other. 
             Sleep flows through the house like a silent river. Soon our
             sleep will join in the flow of that quiet river and each of us
             will dream our separate dream".

    Also appearing -
    Miss Hunter (Mariclaire Costello); the Baldwin sisters (Mary Jackson & Helen Kleeb); Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Sheriff Bridges (John Crawford); Lutie Bascomb (Richard Bradford); Lois May (Laurie Prange).

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  17. THE LOVE STORY (18 Jan 1973)
    Writer: Earl Hamner. Director: Lee Philips. Music: Jerry Goldsmith.

    "Waltons Mountain by day was friendly, but by night ghosts seemed to hide in every shadow and the feeling of something old and mysterious flowed downward on the cold night wind. And if we were walking homeward past a house that was known to be haunted, you couldn't help but be a little apprehensive".

    And one night as he was walking past John-Boy saw a light in the old empty Pendleton house. When he and his father return to investigate they find a girl inside who turns out to be Jenny Pendleton, daughter of Dave Pendleton who now lives in Richmond. He has re-married and while on his honeymoon with his new wife Eula, Jenny has run away back to the old house. Dave and Eula come looking for her and re-open the old house to stay for a while. John-Boy takes Jenny to see the top of the mountain where his ancestor Rome Walton once had a house. They fall in love, but when Dave is killed in a motor accident she retreats into a coma, only recovering with the love and kindness shown by the Walton family. Jenny and Eula decide to return to their home in the town.

    "Jenny was to come into our lives again, but the promises we made to each other we were not to keep. Still, her name and her face are remembered in our house and the memory of Jenny is as sad and as sweet as the cry of a nightbird drifting across the new green fields of spring".

    John: Still awake, son?
    John-Boy: Yes, Daddy.
    John: Well, wish I could tell you it's going to hurt a little less tomorrow.
    John-Boy: Yes sir.
    John: But I don't think it will.
    John-Boy: Yes sir.
    John: 'Night, son.
    John-Boy: Yes sir.

    Note: Jenny and her mother appear again in The Thanksgiving Story (Season 2).
    This episode was nominated for two Emmy awards: one for Lee Philips as best director and the other for Earl Hamner Jnr. as best> Also appearing -
    Sheriff Bridges (John Crawford); Jenny Pendleton (Sian Barbara Allen); Dave Pendleton (Gordon Rigsby); Eula (Diane Shalet).

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  18. THE COURTSHIP (25 Jan 1973)
    Writer: Jeb Rosebrook. Director: Harry Harris. Music: Jerry Goldsmith.

    "It was Spring on Waltons Mountain, that special time when all of life seeks and finds its own renewal and strength. A time when the season, like the mountain, calls back those whose lives have taken them so many miles and years away from the land. One of those who was called back in that Spring of 1933 was my mother's uncle. His name was Cody Nelson and he'd come all the way home from Cincinatti Ohio".

    The bank where he worked had been forced to close, and Cody wished to stay with the family for a while. He meets a four-times-married divorcee Cordelia Hunnicut. They see each other every day and a strong bond of affection grows between them. He asks Cordelia to marry him, she accepts and they are married by the minister Matthew Fordwick in the Waltons home before returning to Cincinatti.

    "Cody's bank did re-open, and he was hired back to his old job in the Accounting Department. There he remained until his retirement a year later. Great Uncle Cody died in 1953, and Cordelia followed him within 6 months. There are many who believe that she died of a broken heart".

    Ben: John-Boy, what happens if you get married to a girl and find out you don't like her?
    John-Boy: Better make sure you love her before you get married, Ben.
    Ben: Yeh but maybe there's things you might not know about her, that maybe she sleeps with her Teddy Bear or snores or wears socks to bed.
    John-Boy: If you really love her you'll put up with such things, Ben.
    Ben: Yuck.
    John-Boy: Goodnight, Ben.
    Ben: Goodnight, John-Boy.

    Note: Eduard Franz re-appears in The Collision (season 4) this time as a retired colonel.
    Also appearing -
    the Baldwin sisters (Mary Jackson & Helen Kleeb); Rev Fordwick (John Ritter); Cody Nelson (Eduard Franz); Cordelia (Danna Hansen).

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  19. THE GYPSIES (1 Feb 1973)
    Writer: Paul Savage. Director: Harry Harris. Music: Alexander Courage.

    "Times were hard everywhere during the days of the great Depression, but on Waltons Mountain we were better off than most. To many though it was a time of wandering, of looking for some better place, a new grasp on life, or a change of scene. And I remember when some wanderers came to our mountain one wild stormy summer night".

    A gypsy family is stranded when their caravan is damaged during the storm. When the Waltons try to help them they encounter suspicion and hostility. Their baby is ill and Grandma suspects influenza but her offer of help is refused. It is only when the baby gets much worse that they relent. With care and attention the baby recovers and the gypsy family, led by Volta, with his wife Franzia, and his old mother Zena and son Craska find their attitude changes to gratitude and friendship. Even their dog, accused of stealing chickens, is found to have killed a large fox, the real culprit.

    "They might have come from a different planet, but they touched our lives briefly and then in my mind went on in some gaudy, mysterious and wonderful world. Nearly 30 years have passed but still those days are bright in my memory. I can still hear the scratch of my pen as I recorded all that wonder, the cosy patter of rain on the roof, and our voices just before going to sleep as we called one last drousy message".

    Erin: Mama, Mary Ellen is sleeping on the floor.
    Olivia: Mary Ellen, why are you sleeping on the floor?
    Mary Ellen: I'm pretending I'm a gypsy, Mama, travelling in a caravan across Bulgaria.
    Olivia: Try to be home by morning.
    Mary Ellen: I will Mama.
    Olivia: Sweet dreams.
    Mary Ellen: You too, Mama.

    Note: In The Re-union all the Recipe had been stolen by Homer, yet when the gypsies entered the Baldwin's house, there were casks of Recipe marked 1924, 1927, etc.... Where had it all come from?
    Also appearing -
    Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Sheriff Bridges (John Crawford).

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  20. THE DEED (8 Feb 1973)
    Writer: James Menzies. Director: Vincent Sherman. Music: Jerry Goldsmith.

    "Waltons Mountain had been in our family since long before I was born, it was a mountain that gave of itself, we took trout from its swift streams, and we took from it constantly the lumber and firewood which provided our family with income. My grandfather used to say that the land was alive, that if you knew how to listen you could hear its voice, but at 17 I did more talking than listening. I remember one morning during the Depression hiking with Grandpa searching for trees that were ready for harvesting".

    They come across some surveyors planning the route for a new road for a logging company, and learn that their land is unregistered and so open for development. 200 dollars are needed for the legal fees to safeguard their property, so John-Boy leaves home and gets a lift with Yancy Tucker to a city to look for a job, leaving the rest of the family to do what they can to save money. Mary Ellen sells an old pewter tea pot to the rag and bone man. In the city, John-Boy is befriended by a pretty girl Cissy, is robbed, but later is able to apprehend the thieves. With the reward money, and the money saved by the family, the deed of property is secured.

    "I had lived in a city, known adventure, found friends and even been kissed by a pretty girl, but it was good to be home again, to know that special love and to hear those special voices".

    Elizabeth: Can I come in, John-Boy?
    John-Boy: Sure, Elizabeth.
    Elizabeth: I just wanted to see if you were really home.
    John-Boy: I'm here, honey.
    Elizabeth: I love you, John-Boy.
    John-Boy: I love you, Elizabeth.

    Also appearing -
    Yancy Tucker (Robert Donner); rag & bone man (George Tobias).

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  21. THE SCHOLAR (22 Feb 1973)
    Writer: John McGreevey. Director: Lee Philips. Music: Jerry Goldsmith.

    "When I was growing up on Waltons Mountain the great Depression touched our lives in many ways. Jobs were scarce, new clothes were rare, food was simple and mostly home grown. What we had we shared. My father taught us by his quiet practise that sharing was our first duty and happiest privilege. And on one occasion I had the opportunity to share an unforgettable experience with a lady who was trying to hide a secret".

    Mrs Verdie Grant, a widowed black lady cannot read or write but is very proud and conceals this from everyone. When her daughter is to graduate, she wants to go and be with her but is afraid her lack of education will shame her. She asks John-Boy to teach her and so she has lessons from him in secret, but Elizabeth sees them and innocently tells Miss Hunter. When Verdie finds out she thinks John-Boy has betrayed her and is furious with him, refusing to listen to his side. She overcomes her pride when she needs him to read her a letter from her daughter which asks her to come to the graduation. Verdie and John-Boy are friends again as he waves her off to see her daughter.

    Erin has to have her tonsils out, but while recovering at home likes the feeling of being the centre of attention, so prolongs her stay in bed. When her boy friend calls to take her out she suddenly feels better, but Olivia refuses to let her go, making her realise what she was doing.

    "How to get attention without playing sick, how to keep from getting hung up on the barbed wire of old prejudices and grievances. As we fumbled towards answers to these and a thousand other questions we were lucky to have the teasing of our brothers and sisters to keep us from taking ourselves too seriously, and, the unfailing love of our mother and father to reassure and sustain us".

    Jim Bob: Daddy?
    John: Yeh, Jim Bob?
    Jim Bob: Will you wake me when you get up in the morning?
    John: Sure thing. Big plans for tomorrow?
    Jim Bob: Uh hum. Elizabeth and I are going to dig a hole straight through to China and I want to get an early start.
    John: Goodnight, Jim Bob.
    Jim Bob: Goodnight, Daddy.

    Note: This episode was the winner of the Emmy for Writer of a Drama Series for a Single Program.
    Also appearing -
    Verdie Grant (Lynn Hamilton); Miss Hunter (Mariclaire Costello).

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  22. THE BICYCLE (1 Mar 1973)
    Writer: Nigel McKeand. Director: Alf Kjelin. Music: Arthur Moreton.

    "Times were hard when I was growing up in the 1930s and many people tried to escape those times by living in other worlds created for them by glossy magazines and the movies. My own family was so close and we were so involved with our everyday lives that we didn't seem to need those dream worlds. So it came as a surprise when one day we discovered >

    Transfer interrupted!

    her own".

    She had always been contented with her life as a busy wife and mother, but suddenly she felt imprisoned by all the demands that the family made on her time and freedom. So when Ike Godsey encourages her to try out a second-hand bicycle she takes it and rides off gaily to a rehearsal of the church choir in which she's been invited to be the lead singer. She cherishes a dream that one day she might bcome a great singer.

    Curtis Norton is in love with Ann Harris with whom he's been corresponding. He's had John-Boy write his letters for him putting into words his own feelings. She comes to marry him but is disappointed to find him not as the letters implied. When she finds out that it is John-Boy who has actually written those letters she is hurt and angered and intends to leave, but Curtis entreats her to stay. Her attitude changes when she realises that the movie stars whom she adores don't speak their own lines but engage writers, so she hastens after Curtis. Olivia gives up her dream, and the bicycle, finding that her place is with her home and family.

    "My mother never sang in grand opera but her voice never failed to fill our house with a glad song as she went about the job of caring for us all. I can still remember when the hour grew late, I would be writing in my room and she would be working at some chore in the kitchen and her voice would drift upward".

    John-Boy: Goodnight, Mama.
    Olivia: Goodnight, John-Boy.

    Note: Curtis Norton and his wife Ann appear again in The Fulfillment (Season 2) but Curtis is then played by Victor French.
    Also appearing -
    Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Curtis Norton (Ned Beatty); Ann Harris (Ivy Jones).

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  23. THE TOWNIE (8 March 1973)
    Writer: Richard Fielder. Director: Jack Shea. Music: Jerry Goldsmith.

    "I will never forget the first time I took a girl to a motion picture show. Her name was Sarah and she lived on the other side of Waltons Mountain in a little backwoods hollow, and what happened was more astonishing to me than anything I could have imagined if I had tried to write a story about such an innocent pleasure".

    Sarah Simmonds is brought up very strickly by her widowed mother and when John-Boy takes her to see a movie she, being highly emotional, falls for him, but he knows they are too young and gently rejects her advances. So she goes out with Theodore Claypool who has a flashy sports car, but tells her mother it is John-Boy she is seeing. When Theodore elopes with her it turns out that he's stolen his father's money and a gun. John-Boy goes after them and finds the car overturned and Sarah bruised. Her escapade makes her grow up a bit.

    "I was not to be the husband that Sarah wished for, but we remained the best of old friends into our adult years, and when I think of her now, I remember those pebbles we tossed into the pond that day, and how the widening circles touched and intertwined reaching out together toward the far shore. Like a family who's love touched another human being and helped carry her to the far shore of womanhood".

    Jim Bob finds a duck egg and Grandpa shows him how to keep it warm and hatch it. They name it "Jim Bob Junior".

    Jim Bob: Grandpa, do you think Jim Bob Junior's married yet?
    Grandpa: Wouldn't be at all surprised.

    Note: Sarah and her mother appear again in The Odyssey (Season 2).
    Allyn McLerie played the actress Doris Day brought to Deadwood in the 1953 Warner Bros film "Calamity Jane".
    Also appearing -
    Miss Hunter (Mariclaire Costello); Sheriff Bridges (John Crawford); Sarah Simmonds (Sissy Spivak); Mrs Simmonds (Allyn Ann McLerie).

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  24. THE EASTER STORY (19 April 1973) (Two hour episode) also known as "THE WALTONS CRISIS".
    Teleplay: John McGreevey. Story: Earl Hamner. Director: Philip Leacock. Music: Arthur Moreton.

    "When we were growing up on Waltons Mountain, Sundays were very special. Six days a week overalls and sneakers were the family uniform, but on the seventh day we got out our "Sunday go to Meeting" best, shined and scrubbed and brushed and polished. Getting ready to go to church was as much of a ritual as the services once we got there. I remember one February Sunday that began like any other but ended in the gravest crisis our family ever faced, a crisis that threatened the sheltered life we'd taken for granted and tested our belief in God's mercy".

    Coming out of the church after the service Olivia collapses and has to be helped home. She finds she's lost the use of her legs and is confined to her bed. Dr Vance is called and diagnoses polio......

    "Mama's room has become the centre of the house. Every day she talks with us, telling us of the hopes and dreams she has for each one of us".

    In the bedroom she helps Mary Ellen make a frilly dress and John-Boy teaches his sister to dance, so she can go out dancing with GW. Ben gets busy earning a little money delivering magazines. John-Boy visits the University of Virginia and talks with a doctor there who himself has had polio. He promises to look out some pamphlets about Sister Kenny in Australia and her treatment of polio. Later he comes over with the pamphlets and gives Olivia some encouragement. She starts to try Sister Kenny's methods, and then the Baldwin sisters visit, bringing an unwittingly embarrassing gift - a wheel chair....

    Jason practises with his guitar for an amateur contest, and then, accompanied by most of the family, goes to the event. When they return home they re-enact the evening for Olivia. Jason's song "The Ironing Board Blues"* gets him First prize.

    Later, John-Boy writes in his diary - "Easter is less than a week away. Spring is still not in sight and Mama seems no closer to walking. Suppose this is the year when Spring never comes? No green buds, no blossoms with the promise of fruit and harvest. Men must have shared these same doubts for thousands of years, asked themselves - what must we do to bring back Spring? What can we offer you in an exchange for an end to Winter? The beginning of new life, Mama strong and well again. What can we do?"

    Olivia renews her efforts to try to walk again, but with little success. In despair she resolves that next day she'll start to learn how to use the wheel chair. Next morning, imagining she heard Elizabeth cry out, she suddenly finds she's got our of bed unaided, and is able to walk again.

    "My mother did go to the sunrise service that Easter morning, and there was a special joy in all our hearts as she stood leaning on my father's arm, facing into the first glorious rays of the sun which rolled back the darkness and warmed the wakening world to new life and hope. Many Easters have passed since then, other Springs have been slow to come, but inevitably Winter has yielded to Spring. The years have brought the full quota of blessings and trials, joys and heartaches. The same old questions recur - Why my child? Why my wife? Why me? Why? And the search for answers has been taken up by new generations of grandchildren, but it's still reassuring for me to catch the echo of those dear familiar voices on that Easter, long, long ago".

    Elizabeth: Mama?
    Olivia: Yes, Elizabeth?
    Elizabeth: Which crocusses do you like the best, blue, or the yellow, or the white?
    Olivia: They're all so lovely I like them all equally.
    Elizabeth: Same as us children?
    Olivia: That's right!
    Elizabeth: 'Night, Mama.
    Olivia: Goodnight, Elizabeth.

    * Note: Song composed and played by Jon Walmsley.
    Also appearing -
    the Baldwin sisters (Mary Jackson & Helen Kleeb); Rev Fordwick (John Ritter); GW (David Doremus); Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Sheriff Bridges (John Crawford).

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