Episode 15 - The Idol

(10 January 1980)
Writer: Juliet Packer.
Director: Gwen Arner.
Music: Alexander Courage.


"In each of our lives, if we're lucky, we encounter a few extraordinary people who forever alter our perceptions and color our thoughts. They become the touchstones of our lives. In the Spring of 1944 my sister Elizabeth came to know one of these special people".


Elizabeth walks to Ike's store as the bus drops off Hazel Lamphere, the new schoolteacher. They walk to her new house. Rose uses the memory helper 'A Rat In The House Might Eat The Ice Cream' to help Jeffrey with his spelling of the word 'arithmetic'. Rose asks Cindy to pick up lemons (for lemonade to be served at Cindy's baby shower) while buying pistachio ice cream and pickled pig's feet to satisfy her cravings. When Jeffrey wonders how the baby will arrive, Rose says that Cindy will go to the hospital where the doctor will remove the baby from his black bag.


Hazel becomes light-headed after taking down an unappealing portrait of Cupid that Corabeth had earlier asked Ike to hang. She tells Elizabeth that she is just tired. After finding a Thailand fan, Elizabeth learns that Hazel has traveled around the world. Elizabeth leaves for supper as Corabeth arrives to welcome the new educator. When Corabeth notices the picture on the floor, Hazel admits she would rather hang one of her abstract prints. Corabeth comments, 'one of those decadent moderns'.


The next morning, Hazel brings the unruly schoolchildren to order with a shrill whistle. She introduces herself, saying she loves to teach and asks the children why they dislike school. Lauren says, "It's boring!" She assigns them the task of writing down their favorite subjects. That night, Elizabeth and Hazel discuss abstract art after Hazel says she used to live in the museums of New York. Hazel says she has a list of things to do, one being to ride a camel in Egypt. She rode one named Nephritides. John knocks on the front door searching for his daughter. Elizabeth announces she wants to become a teacher. After they leave, Hazel dances to music, but falls to the floor by a painful seizure.


The next morning, Hazel and Elizabeth hear Rover, the peacock. If she could turn into a bird, Elizabeth says she would like to be an eagle so she could be the boss or a nightingale because it sings so beautifully. Hazel wants to be a phoenix, so she could live for hundreds of years and be resurrected young. At the baby shower, the Baldwin sisters, Corabeth, Mary Ellen, Erin, Elizabeth, and Serena join Cindy. Hazel arrives with a present and a rum cake, that Corabeth calls 'that demon rum'. While cutting the cake, Hazel has a dizzy spell in front of Mary Ellen. At the same time, John, Ike, Jason, Jim Bob, and Jeffrey have a party for Ben, with servings of the Recipe. Ike tells Jeffrey that a stork will deliver Cindy's baby.


Outside the school, Lauren, Jeffrey, and Serena argue how babies arrive. Lauren believes they come from the cabbage patch while Jeffrey believes the stork and the black bag. Serena thinks they're inside the mother's stomach. When Hazel hears the stories she tells them they are wrong, promising a class on how babies are born. At Ike's store, Jeffrey tells Rose that she was wrong about the black bag, Cindy's baby is inside her. Corabeth is worried about Hazel's teaching practices. At home, Rose, Jim Bob, and Ben discuss possible names for the baby while Cindy eats donuts, pickles, and pickled pig's feet.


Hazel puts up a goldfinch feeder while Elizabeth informs her that Corabeth will try to stop her from teaching the class. Hazel says she must stick to her principles, believing it important to teach what she thinks is important. Hazel believes that there are always dragons, but when one breaths fire you have to muzzle it and hope not to get burned. She asks Elizabeth for Mary Ellen's medical books so she can prepare for the class. Mary Ellen arrives to find Hazel unconscious. Hazel admits she has a brain tumor with only four months to live. She is determined to introduce her students to the wonders of the world in order to challenge their lives, so her life will be of some value.


Ben talks with the Dew Drop Inn bartender about his impending fatherhood. Feeling sorry for Ben, he gives Ben another drink for the road. Back at the house, Cindy awakens John to take her to the hospital, as she is about to deliver. Later in the morning, Elizabeth tells Hazel about the early morning activities. Hazel decides to tell Elizabeth about her 'biggest fire-breathing dragon'. She tells her friend that she loves her but is dying. Elizabeth doesn't believe her and becomes angry for lying to her about things she knew would never happen. She leaves after saying, 'You said the world is beautiful, when it's really ugly'.


At the hospital, Ben tells John he slept in the truck. He asks about Cindy who is upset at him. After Ben enters her room he apologies for running away from his responsibilities. Cindy says she was scared about becoming a mother, but with his support will be fine. Mary Ellen and John introduce Ben to his new daughter. Cindy decides to name her daughter after the most beautiful place she knows, Virginia.


Jason reminds Elizabeth about the time his friend Seth died. He couldn't play the recorder that Seth gave him, thinking his friend deserted him. But his memories of Seth kept him alive. Jason believes that Hazel has given Elizabeth many lasting memories of teaching, traveling, and art. The next morning, Hazel prepares for the childbirth class, involving the children, the Baldwin sisters, Corabeth, and several members of the community. Corabeth announce her disapproval. Hazel agrees the subject should be taught in the home, but many of the children have received incorrect information. She insists that questions must be answered honestly and that the wonder of the birthing process should not be an embarrassment. Corabeth is stunned by the description of childbirth. At the house, John advises Elizabeth not to mourn for Hazel while she is still alive and reminds her that friendship occurs in good and bad times. Elizabeth walks into the schoolroom just in time to agree with Hazel's description of life as an adventure.


"From that day onward, Hazel's teaching was never again questioned. Elizabeth and Hazel's friendship grew stronger, and even though Hazel died a few months later, her zest for life lived on in my sister".


Erin: Goodnight Jeffrey.
Jeffrey: Goodnight Erin. If Virginia's your niece, is she my niece too?
Erin: No, she's your cousin.
Jeffrey: But you're my cousin!
Erin: So's Virginia, only she's once removed.
Jeffrey: Removed where?
Erin: One generation.
Jeffrey: What's that?
Erin: Complicated. Goodnight Jeffrey.
Jeffrey: Goodnight Erin. Goodnight Virginia!



The Baldwin sisters give Cindy a music box that was used by them as children.

John gives Ben a bank account that he opened for the baby.

Ike gives Ben a first-aid kit.

Rose uses the memory helper 'A Rat In The House Might Eat The Ice Cream' to help Jeffrey with his spelling of the word 'A-R-I-T-H-M-E-T-I-C'.

Hazel Lamphere is introduced as the new schoolteacher.

Lauren, Jeffrey, and Serena argue how babies arrive.

The bartender at the Dew Drop Inn is played by Pat Corley.


Also appearing:

Ike and Corabeth Godsey (Joe Conley and Ronnie Claire Edwards); Rose (Peggy Rae); Serena (Martha Nix); Jeffrey (Keith Mitchell), Cindy (Leslie Winston), John Curtis (Michael and Marshall Reed), Miss Emily and Miss Mamie Baldwin (Mary Jackson and Helen Kleeb), Hazel Lamphere (Susan Krebs), The Bartender (Pat Corley), Lauren (Kimberly Woodward).