Episode 21 - The Furlough

(21 February 1980)
Writer: Juliet Packer.
Director: Harry Harris.
Music: Alexander Courage.


"There were many homecomings in my life but the one I remember best followed a long spell in the hospital during World War Two. A visit home would be the final step in my recovery, and I looked forward to the comfort of those familiar surroundings. I never dreamed that I would bring the war with me, and that it would haunt me, even on Waltons Mountain".


On the bus traveling home to Walton's Mountain, a traveler that hears John-Boy speak of 'Katey Anne' while asleep, awakens him. The soldier questions John-Boy about Katey Ann, who is unaware of her identify. At the same time, Rose, Mary Ellen, and Cindy move Mary Ellen and John Curtis out of their bedroom and into the shed, in order for John-Boy to sleep in his own room. Erin and Serena bring John-Boy's old typewriter down from the attic, while Jason and Jim Bob look for his old desk.


Miss Mamie and Miss Emily arrive at Ike's store to hear that John-Boy is coming home for a visit. The sisters decide to celebrate the occasion with a party for John-Boy where he will sign copies of his new novel G.I. Journal. While searching for the Baldwin's mail, Corabeth finds a letter for Ike that turns out to be a message of 'greetings' from the President of the United States. Ike has been drafted into the military! Corabeth doesn't believe the war to be 'going that bad' for the country to draft her husband.


The family nervously waits for the bus to arrive at Rockfish. John mentions that everyone should make John-Boy as comfortable as possible. When the bus arrives, everybody hugs John-Boy and he is introduced to Cindy. At home, Rose, Serena, Jeffrey, John Curtis, and Virginia wait to meet John-Boy. In his old bedroom, John-Boy is surprised to find it just like he left it. He sees his yearbook and wonders if anybody knows of a girl named 'Katey Anne'. Erin asks him how we could remember an old girlfriend if he doesn't. Later, sitting around John-Boy and Virginia the family greets Corabeth and Ike at the front door. They want to make sure that John-Boy is okay. As they leave, Ike presents John-Boy with a letter marked 'urgent'. Reading the letter, he finds that Nan Bennett will be visiting, hoping to find information about her missing brother Stewart: the co-pilot on the airplane that went down with John-Boy on board. Going down over Belgium, John-Boy remembers entering the cockpit where he found the dead pilot and Stewart at the controls. With the waters beneath them coming closer, John-Boy has blacked out further details.


John and John-Boy discuss changes brought on by the war. John tells John-Boy what it felt like coming home from the war, glad to be met by his wife and baby, but sad not knowing if his brother Ben was properly buried somewhere in Europe. John says he eventually had to resign the fact that he'll never know what happened to Ben. John-Boy says he is not yet ready to accept his memory loss. Later, John-Boy hears Jim Bob hitting a hammer to an anvil, reminding him of a sound he heard during his blackout. Ike visits the draft board, telling the new man he is sure a mistake was made when he was drafted. With Ike's file missing, the man tells Ike to fill out the required forms before his scheduled physical.


John and Nan Bennett meet at the house to talk about her brother. John-Boy relates what he knows about the flight back from Belgium. But he still can't remember anything after the airplane began its descent. John-Boy relates when he and Stewart drank beer at the Queen's Garter. When the establishment wouldn't serve Americans their special beer, Stewart dressed up in English clothes so he could be served. Nan presents John-boy with a picture of him and Stewart.


On the porch, Jeffrey finds John-Boy writing in his journal. Jeffrey asks him what it is like to be in the army. John-Boy says he spent most of the time writing for Stars and Stripes. Later, Jeffrey tells Jim Bob that he is worried about what branch of the military he should join. Jim Bob assures him that the war will be over before he becomes eligible to join.


At the store, a F.B.I. agent asks Ike several questions pertinent to his draft notice. When Ike admits he received the notice but did not appear at his physical, the agent forces Ike to the induction center. Jeffrey is told to tell Uncle John what has happened. At the Baldwin's party, John-Boy reads from his novel. Afterwards, Miss Emily suggests all drink the refreshments and, later, have John-Boy sign their copies of G.I. Journal. When Jason begins to play the song "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia" John-Boy remembers singing it while in the water with Stewart, both clinging to a part of the downed airplane. He is brought back to reality when his glass smashes to the floor. Just then, Jeffrey rushes in to announce that the F.B.I. has arrested Ike. John and Corabeth rush to the induction center. Having served as the chairman of the local draft board, John tells the officer that Ike is too old to be drafted. The recruitment officer tells Ike that he is listed as being born on September 1, 1924, making him twenty years old. Ike says he was born on September 24, 1901. A clerical mistake had switched two digits of the day and year.


Jason, Ben, and Jim Bob bring beer to John-Boy in his bedroom. They all drink (except Jim Bob who has soda pop) the 'forbidden fruit' banned in their mother's house. They talk about rolling and smoking cigarettes behind the smokehouse and getting caught by Grandpa, who proceeded to make them smoke a whole sack full of tobacco. Downstairs Jim Bob shows John-Boy a model of the flying fortress airplane that he built. Jim Bob suggests placing the name 'Scarlet O'Hara' on its side. John-Boy suddenly realizes that 'Katey Anne' should be placed on it and remembers the missing pieces of his blackout. John-Boy relates that while Stewart flew the crippled airplane he said that 'Katey Anne' (the airplane) would bring them home. Continuing the story, John-Boy says how after crashing, he and Stewart climb out of the sinking airplane and kept afloat clinging to pieces of the plane. During this time, John-Boy realizes that Stewart is injured. Trying to stay awake they sing '’Carry Me Back to Old Virginia' but during the song Stewart drifts off into the water. John-Boy can't find his friend who has disappeared from sight. John comforts his eldest son. Over supper, the family prays for family members that are present and absent.


"I had come home to plant a part of my tass that was missing. There was an ache in my heart for my friend Stewart, but I had finally confronted the past, and accepted its cruelty".


Erin: Serena did you put my necklace back?
Serena: I left it on Nana's dresser, I'll get it in the morning.
Mary Ellen: Has anybody run across John Curtis' Teddy Bear?
Erin: I saw it in Cindy's room, and I found your curlers under my bed.
Mary Ellen: I don't think we'll ever get sorted out, even John-Boy left his slippers.
Erin: Keep 'em he'll be back!
Mary Ellen: Goodnight everbody!
Everybody: Goodnight!



The Baldwin sisters are trying to send some of The Recipe to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. They are also waiting for a reply from a letter they sent to Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Jeffrey likes to look at the comic strips in The Charlottesville Progress.

The Walton's Mountain draft board registered all men under the age of sixty-five years old.

Lyrics for the song 'Carry Me Back to Old Virginia is found at: http://users.erols.com/va-udc/lyrics.html.

Information about Stars and Stripes appears at http://www.starsandstripesmuseumlibrary.org/.

Ike says he was born on September 24, 1901.


Also appearing:

Ike and Corabeth Godsey (Joe Conley and Ronnie Claire Edwards), Cindy Walton (Leslie Winston), Rose Burton (Peggy Rea), Serena Burton (Martha Nix), Jeffrey Burton (Keith Mitchell, John Curtis (Michael and Marshall Reed), John-Boy Walton (Robert Wightman), Miss Emily and Miss Mamie Baldwin (Mary Jackson and Helen Kleeb), Nan Bennett (Diane Stilwell), Stewart Bennett (John Furey), Bragdon (Stephen Keep), Mr. Truby (Michael Thoma), The Soldier (David Cramer), Major Gordon (Philip Baker Hall), The Corporal (John Philip Dayton).