Episode 15 - Spring Fever

(12 January 1978)
Writers: Rod Peterson and Claire Whitaker.
Director: Richard Chaffee.
Music: Alexander Courage.


"It was spring on Waltons Mountain, and after the confinement of a long winter life burst forth with such energy that every creature seemed charged with it, including the two young stallions in our house, Ben and Jim Bob".


The spring-cleaning of the Walton’s house is interrupted as arguments erupt between Ben and Jim Bob. Grandpa and Elizabeth discuss their temperament with Grandpa saying the boys are acting ‘like billygoats’. Elizabeth mentions they seem to hate each other. Grandpa knows those feelings are normal for boys of their age. While Mary Ellen removes the curtains and Jason plays the piano, Erin wants to know why Ben is so grumpy. He states that Ruby acted like ‘little Miss Iceberg’ on their date. Erin says he’s a ‘typical male’.


Grandpa, John, and Jason are working in the front yard when Miss Emily literally drives her car into the yard and almost through the fence. She is concerned about Mamie acting strangely. Her visit is to inform Zeb that her sister is requesting his help. At the Baldwin’s house Grandpa finds thrips on her ailing rose bush causing it not to bloom for the first time. Zeb recommends dusting powder. Miss Mamie also confides in Zeb that the dying rose bush is a sign from her Papa that this will be her last spring. She wants him to be the executor of her estate. Grandpa doctors the rose bush but upon entering the house finds the sisters’ grandfather clock has suddenly stopped. Miss Mamie thinks this is another sign that her time has arrived.


Ruby and Erin discuss Ben who is not behaving as a gentleman. Erin suggests to Ruby that she make Ben jealous. Ben and Jim Bob continue to argue at lunch so Olivia decides to eat her meal with John at the mill and Mary Ellen takes her son’s food up to her bedroom thankful he doesn’t yet talk. In the afternoon Patsy Brimmer arrives with a picnic basket for a date that Jim Bob has forgotten. With him behind in his painting, Ben offers to replace his younger brother at the picnic. As Ben and Patsy walk out of the house, Jim Bob intently looks at the couple while mistakenly painting the glass instead of the window frame.


The Waltons always celebrate the end of spring cleaning with a picnic so Grandpa invites the Baldwin sisters hoping the festivities will brighten Miss Mamie’s spirits. Excitedly he announces to John and Olivia that they will eat wienies, marshmallows, and homemade ice cream. While still swinging on the porch, Ben approaches his parents after his first date with Patsy. Ben boosts in front of Jim Bob about the good time they had together. In retaliation, Jim Bob states he will ask out Ruby Davis but Ben laughs, ‘fat chance’.  The next day, however, Jim Bob returns from Ike’s to gloat that he did ask out Ruby, and she said yes.


Grandpa confesses that the dusting powder did not help the rose bush and that it is dying. Zeb reluctantly agrees to become Miss Mamie’s executor.


Jim Bob admits to Erin that he is nervous about dating an older girl. Erin calms his nervousness by saying to act normal. On the date, they do have a good time playing pinball. Returning to Ruby’s house laughing, she comments about what a gentleman that he is and kisses him. But the next morning the two brothers continue the battle and Mary Ellen finally tells her brothers off.


At a croquet party held outside the Baldwin house, the Waltons dress up in old-fashion clothing and Grandpa spikes one of the punch bowls with the recipe. But Miss Mamie says she did not receive any enjoyment from it, resulting in Grandpa knowing something is seriously wrong. As a rain shower suddenly appears everyone runs for cover except for Grandpa who tries to rescue his sacred punch. Later, Grandpa lectures Miss Mamie about ‘holding onto life with both two fists’. But she has seen the signs and does not take his advice to heart. As a last resort Grandpa tells the sisters that he has a surprise for them tomorrow.


At the movies, Ben places his arm around Patsy after eyeing Jim Bob with Ruby. Then Jim Bob swings his arm around Ruby to show his big brother he can do the same with his date. After the movie the two couples meet in front of the theatre. Ben pushes Jim Bob after sharp words occur between the two brothers.


Waiting for Grandpa to arrive with his surprise Jason tells Erin, “I’m glad I’m not in love. I couldn’t stand to be that happy!’ He makes these comments to his younger brothers as they stand with their girlfriends but at opposite ends of the porch. Grandpa soon arrives driving a team of horses for a hayride to the picnic. The group is singing as they drive up to the Baldwin’s house. Miss Mamie only says she is ‘too old for such frivolities’.


At the picnic Grandpa invite the sisters to fish. Miss Mamie is not very happy until she catches a large catfish. With her feet wet she finally is seen with a big smile on her face and the desire to continue fishing. While the older generation fish, Jim Bob admits he still likes Patsy and Ruby admit she likes Ben. When they walk upon the other couple, Jim Bob observes Ben getting friendly with the girl he likes. Ben takes a swing at Jim Bob and misses, but Jim Bob returns a solid punch to his brother’s face. As the two brothers fall to the ground Ruby attends to Ben’s bruised jaw and Patsy helps Jim Bob up from the ground. Both brothers ask if the other one is okay.


"Spring that year saw Jim Bob come of age. There was a new maturity and purpose about him, and it was the last time that anyone ever thought of him as Ben Walton's little brother".


Erin: Are you still awake, Mary Ellen?
Mary Ellen: I'm trying to finish my letter to Curt, I've got a lot more to write about now.
Jason: You can tell him that the two sluggers are both fast asleep in here, moaning and groaning everytime they turn over.
Mary Ellen: OK I'll tell him.
Grandpa: Quiet down up there will you?
Elizabeth: You tired out too, Grandpa?
Grandpa: No, but I have got to get up, at sunrise.
Ben: How come?
Grandpa: 'Cos the Baldwin ladies, they want to go fishin' again.
Elizabeth: Goodnight Grandpa!



Thrips are a small, often wingless insect, of the order Thysanopters that are often destructive to plants.

Her Papa who called it his ‘Mamie Rose’ planted Miss Mamie’s rose bush.

The Baldwin sisters’ father died at the age of 93 years old.

The malady facing elderly ladies like Miss Mamie is said by Grandpa to be called the ‘Tulip Time Vapors’.


Also appearing:

Miss Emily Baldwin (Mary Jackson); Miss Mamie Baldwin (Helen Kleeb); Ruby Davis (Heather Totten); Patsy Brimmer (Debbie Gunn).