Episode 21 - The Long Night

(24 February 1977)
Teleplay: Rod Peterson and Claire Whitaker.
Story: Rod Peterson, Claire Whitaker,
and Katharyn Michaelian Power.
Director: Harry Harris.
Music: Alexander Courage.


"It has always seemed to me that 1938 was the springtime of my life. I was engrossed in completing my novel and as the words poured out I felt as if the whole world was unfolding. It was a time of rising hope, not only for me, but for my grandfather".


While John-Boy concentrates upon the writing of his novel, John joins Grandpa in bringing Grandma home from the hospital. In preparation for Easter’s return, Olivia makes a special supper, Ben hangs a ‘Welcome Home Grandma’ sign, and Jason practices Grandma’s favorite song. Grandfather and son return home alone, however, after learning only Grandpa thought Easter was ready to leave the hospital. Grandpa retreats to the bedroom after causing an uproar when the doctors would not release his wife. The doctors order Grandpa not to return. Grandpa can only fret alone in his room.


Early the next morning Grandpa is completing a job of fence posts after sleeping fitfully in the rocker. Later, while Grandpa is transplanting azaleas, Mary Ellen stops to apologize. She says when the doctors mentioned Grandma was doing better, it did not mean she was well enough to go home. But Grandpa is still much happier than he was yesterday, because he has ‘something up his sleeve’. Ben and Grandpa take a load of lumber to Charlottesville Fence and Lumber. When arriving, Grandpa leaves for the hospital while telling Ben to pick him up there when he finishes unloading the cargo. With a pot full of azaleas in front of his face Grandpa nearly makes it past the watchful eye of the receptionist. But the woman stops him saying hospital rules dictate only the staff can take flowers to patients. He, therefore, insists the nurse on that floor be summoned to take the flowers immediately to his customer. Mary Ellen arrives after being called. She feels sorry for Grandpa and allows him to follow her up to the second floor. As they enter the elevator, Curt intercepts the two and stops Grandpa from going any further. Grandpa says, “The time was, you was born at home, got sick at home, was taken care of at home by people who loved one another”. Curt quickly interjects, “They died at home, too, because they did not have doctors on duty twenty-four hours a day”.


Elizabeth cleans the chicken coop while Aimee looks on because she is allowed by Corabeth only to perform ‘feminine and domestic endeavors’. Later, Elizabeth visits Aimee who is involved with her music appreciation lesson. They have little in common because Corabeth is teaching Aimee all the finer things in life without just letting her be a little girl, like Elizabeth. Olivia, at the same time, is talking with Corabeth who is quoting her book on child rearing. Olivia does not have much faith in the guide and reminds Corabeth that she is Aimee’s mother not the book. Later, while picking wildflowers, Aimee finds a Magic Circle flower and Elizabeth says she has a wish coming to her. Aimee wishes she could pick wildflowers every day instead of her usual activities.


It is obvious to the family that Grandpa is feeling ‘sick at heart’ without Easter. After seeing Grandpa mope around the house, John-Boy tells Grandpa that the whole family is looking for his support. He also points out that if Grandma saw him acting like this she would ‘probably slap the fire out of you’.


After racing home with handfuls of violets, irises, sweet rockets, wild asters, daisies, and Virginia blue bells, Elizabeth and Aimee are found by Corabeth on the Walton’s front porch. She sees Aimee with a dirty and torn dress and with her new “Mary Janes” covered in mud. Grandpa tries to defend the girls but Corabeth will not listen. She feels Elizabeth is a bad influence on her daughter. That night Ike tells Corabeth that she has been teaching Aimee to be too ‘hoity-toity’ for Waltons Mountain. Corabeth does not like what she hears and decides to sleep on the sofa. But while passing Aimee’s room, she finds her daughter gone.


At the same time, Grandpa is trying to sleep on the couch when he hears a late night knock on the door. It’s Aimee! She has run away from home because she would rather play hopscotch and is tired of having Corabeth say, “Aimee, stand up straight. Aimee, don’t do that.” Grandpa admits that all parents say that, but Corabeth is worse because she is so inexperienced at being a parent. Aimee wonders if he would be her Grandpa. Zeb is honored at the suggestion and says he will most gladly be her adopted grandfather. His first advice to his new granddaughter is for both of them to return to Ike and Corabeth and explain how she feels. Grandpa explains to Corabeth that she has neglected Aimee’s education at just being a child. He further suggests she forget her child-rearing book and trust herself. Aimee admits she just wants to be like the other kids and, sometimes, just do nothing. With Corabeth remembering back to her own childhood, Zeb relates how doing nothing can often seem like doing something very exciting.


The next night Grandpa is listening to everyone say their ‘good-nights’ when he realizes why he can not sleep. He takes off to the hospital so he and Easter can say good-night to each other. He has made arrangements with Mary Ellen to give him a signal through Grandma’s window. John and John-Boy follow Grandpa without knowing why he has driven off. Finding him on a park bench facing Grandma’s window, Grandpa explains why he is there. John-Boy and John leave so he can be alone with his wife.


Grandpa (sitting outside the hospital): Goodnight, Esther dear, goodnight.


"Grandpa's quiet vigil so moved the hospital staff that he was eventually allowed to sit with her again in her room. But until that time, he came every evening to the bench where he could see her lighted window".



Notes: None.


Also appearing:

Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); Corabeth Godsey (Ronnie Claire Edwards) Aimee Godsey (Rachel Longaker); Poetry Pantry Announcer (Art Gilmore); Hospital Receptionist (Lynn Wood); Curtis Willard (Tom Bower)