Episode 14 - The Pearls

(12 March 1981)
Writer: Mary Worrell.
Director: James Sheldon.
Music: Alexander Courage.


"Like most adages it is tried and true that fate makes our relatives, choice makes our friends, and it calls to mind a time when a relative of Corabeth Godsey swept through Waltons Mountain like an autumn hurricane leaving both destruction and alike in her wake. All of this took place during a difficult period for Elizabeth who was entering womanhood but was feeling at times like a lost and lonesome child".


Ike waits for Elizabeth to walk up to the store, needing her to mind the store while he drives Corabeth to the train at Charlottesville. Corabeth must go to Doe Hill because Aunt Cordelia is once again at death’s door. She must retrieve her aunt’s ‘genuine matched pearls’ from her sister Orma Lee. As the Godsey’s drive off, Jim Bob watches another vehicle drive up to the store. The driver is surprised about the smallness of Ike Godsey’s store. When a woman emerges from the car, Jim Bob is amazed at the woman’s similarity to Corabeth. Orma Lee tells Vern Billy that she is here to make good on her aunt’s deathbed request to patch things up with her sister Corabeth. As Vern Billy drives off to buy cars, Orma Lee finds Elizabeth inside, also quite surprised at the woman who looks like Corabeth. (Although Orma Lee looks like Corabeth, the similarity ends there, as their personalities are totally different.) Elizabeth tells her that Ike and Corabeth have left. She suggests that Orma Lee rests in the spare bedroom. When Ike returns he is not sure what to think about Corabeth’s sister, when Elizabeth tells him the situation.


At the supper table, the family talks about having two Corabeth’s on the Mountain. Elizabeth thinks the family should select photographs of themselves for their parents, but the children are too busy with their own lives to help. As Rose listens, Elizabeth remembers her childhood among the security of her parents.


Ike opens the front door to find the Baldwin sisters have brought him a five-course supper and some of the 1924 Recipe. Just then, Orma Lee emerges from the poolroom. Ike is embarrassed, telling the sisters he’s never seen that woman before. Later, in the evening, Ike and Orma Lee play pool and drink boilermakers. They decide not to tell Corabeth that she is here. The next morning Ike has a big headache from the previous night’s activities. Elizabeth arrives at the store to purchase a photo album, while Orma Lee brings out the silver serving set to return to the Baldwin sisters. While Elizabeth drives her to their house, Orma Lee tells Elizabeth that she ran away from home with Jesse Roy Macon, a carnival motorcycle performer.


At the house, Rose prepares supper for Jim Bob and Elizabeth, everybody else is gone. At the same time, Ike and Orma Lee dress up for Bingo Night at the Dew Drop Inn. Later, at the Dew Drop, the family sits around a table listening to Orma Lee’s mind-reading abilities. (With previous help from Elizabeth) Orma Lee is able to recall intimate facts of each Walton. Ike and Orma Lee return to the store just as the telephone rings. Corabeth is calling from Mr. Delbert’s funeral home as she makes arrangements for her aunt who ‘won’t go through death’s door’. Ike thinks she is homesick. Orma Lee believes her sister should be homesick, saying Ike is a ‘regular Adonis’. Ike soaks up the compliment.


Rose tells the children that Elizabeth is feeling left out, not being included in their numerous activities. Elizabeth overhears the conversation.


Vern Billy returns, looking for Orma Lee. Ike and he get off on the wrong foot, irritating each other. They start to fight, but canned goods and sauerkraut befall both. Orma Lee walks in to find Vern Billy unconscious on the floor. She revives him as Ike wakes up. Orma Lee explains to Ike that the man is her fourth husband.


Rose readies a special supper of turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce for Elizabeth as the whole family gathers for the event. But unknown to the family Elizabeth has left a note on Erin’s bed, saying she is traveling to Arizona to visit Momma and Daddy. When they find out, Jason runs to the store, hoping Ike knows her location. Orma Lee believes Elizabeth has run away to her parents, thinking her words caused her to leave. Jason and Vern Billy drive to Roanoke, Virginia, and Ike leaves for Charlottesville, Virginia, the two cities where buses depart for Arizona. Jason finds Elizabeth at the bus station, where she explains why she must visit her parents. Jason says they cannot fill the void created by the absence of their parents. Knowing their mother is not well enough for Elizabeth to visit, Jason promises to drive her there when the time is right.


A taxi driver brings Corabeth back to the store. After setting her luggage inside the store, the driver comments about feeling glad to be alone for the drive back. Corabeth is surprised to see Orma Lee inside. They discuss Aunt Cordelia’s wish for them to reconcile before her death. They confess their differences and reminisce about childhood memories. Orma Lee gives Corabeth one string of their aunt’s pearl, while Corabeth gives her sister one half of the fine china. They appreciate their gifts and hug each other.


"It was a time of discovery for both families, that it is possible to choose relatives as friends. Corabeth and Orma Lee, and Elizabeth and her brothers and sisters found out that the family fabric gave from time to time, but the mending always made it stronger".


Elizabeth: Jim Bob?
Jim Bob: Yeah Elizabeth?
Elizabeth: Did you get a new picture taken for Mama's album?
Jim Bob: I keep forgetting, I'll do it tomorrow.
Elizabeth: That's OK. I'll just send the one I found in Mama's bureau today, she hid it there.
Jim Bob: Oh yeah, which one is that?
Elizabeth: The one on the bear rug, in your birthday suit.
Jim Bob: I thought I tore that one up.
Elizabeth: Goodnight Jim Bob!



Aunt Cordelia is the only sister of Corabeth’s father.

Corabeth and Orma Lee have a brother, named Frank.

The license plates on Vern Billy’s car are 59-8602 OK.

Orma Lee and Vern Billy live in Guymon, Oklahoma. (Guymon is a real town in the panhandle of Oklahoma.)

Orma Lee Walton Staleup’s first husband was Jesse Roy Macon (carnival motorcycle performer), her second husband was (unknown), her third husband was Stanley G. Olsen, and her fourth husband is Vern Billy Staleup. Macon was killed while riding his motorcycle during an Oklahoma tornado. Orma Lee was widowed at sixteen years of age. Madame Rosette was the first wife of Orma Lee’s second husband.

Jonesy is in California.

Cindy is visiting her mother in Washington, DC.

From Greek myth ‘Adonis’ is a youth loved by Aphrodite for his exceptional beauty.

Ernie works for Jason at the Dew Drop Inn.

The taxi driver with the Star Cab Company charges Corabeth nineteen dollars, fifty cents for the trip from Charlottesville. Corabeth gives him a twenty-dollar bill, telling him to keep the change.


Also appearing:

Ike and Corabeth Godsey (Joe Conley and Ronnie Claire Edwards), Orma Lee Walton Staleup (Ronnie Claire Edwards), Miss Mamie and Miss Emily Baldwin (Helen Kleeb and Mary Jackson), Rose Burton (Peggy Rea), Vern Billy Staleup (Taylor Lacher), Miss Edward’s Double (Candace Coster), The Taxi Driver (Rand Hopkins), The Bus Station Announcer (Llynn Storer).