|WALTONS DIGEST August - 2005
Rod and I have succumbed to the winter coughs and colds which have been doing the rounds here at the moment. Neither of us has been feeling too wonderful over the past couple of weeks. I don’t know what it’s like getting in to see a doctor over there during winter, but at the moment it is almost impossible here. They say that our hospitals are really full too, with lots of people waiting to be treated for colds and flu. Nasty stuff.
The school holidays were three weeks ago now. Rod and I spent a very relaxing few days exploring the gold mining areas of Victoria. We stayed at Maldon, near Bendigo. All around there were goldmines, and panning for gold, in the 1800’s. All the towns in those areas were thriving but there’s really not much there now. Maldon is really just a sleepy little town and depends on tourism and day trippers coming up from Melbourne to really survive. We enjoyed antiquing though, not that we bought anything. I did come across a copy of The Homecoming though, in a second hand bookstore in Bendigo and was quite excited by that.
I guess the big news for this month is that the new biography of Earl Hamner, written by James E. Person, has been released and the two of them will be doing some book signings over the next few weeks. I don’t have my copy yet, but I will be sure to hop on and order it some time very soon. Here’s what Amazon had to say about it:
Hamner once said, "Even though families are said to be shattered these days, and God is said to be dead, if people can revisit the scenes and places where these values did exist, possibly they can come to believe in them again, or...to adapt some kind of belief in God, or faith in the family unit, or just getting home again." This vision of what makes for a whole life permeates all of Hamner's work. It is present in the novel SPENCER'S MOUNTAIN, upon which THE WALTONS is loosely based, and in his screenplays, such as the work he is perhaps most proud of, CHARLOTTE'S WEB. It is even present in such unlikely places as the eight scripts he contributed to the classic television series THE TWILIGHT ZONE and in the tales of cold-blooded betrayal and boundless ambition depicted on FALCON CREST.
In EARL HAMNER: FROM WALTON'S MOUNTAIN TO TOMORROW, readers will discover the integrated nature of his career. A pervasive theme runs throughout Hamner's work, that of a man forever taking a backward glance to his roots for direction in the way of what makes life worthwhile. Upon learning that this book was being written, Hamner told one of his friends, "I can't imagine anyone wanting to read a book about me, much less write one about me." Readers of this book will find Hamner's doubts indeed misplaced and will discover a delightful individual who has enjoyed a long, accomplished career as a storyteller, laboring for a worthy goal: that posterity may know of an age and a people whose legacy has not, through silence, been permitted to pass away as in a dream.”
I’ve been reading on the Waltons Forum that there would be some book signings, and it’s great to see that they are doing one in Schuyler, at Polly’s place.
Well I really don’t have too much more news, so I’ll finish here and go on with your emails. We’ve had quite a lot of new members over the past few weeks so welcome to you all and I hope we hear from some of you soon.
PS. The Keepers page is up and going now and we’ve had lots of Keepers being added. Have a look at it…there’s a link from my main page to it. It will be prettied up sometime when I have a bit more time. I’ve included most of the Keepers letters because they explain why certain items mean so much to them. I really love reading them all.
Not sure if I can ask to be Keeper of yet another thing, but if permissible, I would like also to be keeper of the recorder that Seth made and gave to Jason before he died. That episode always tears me apart, and, being a voice teacher and actress in many musical productions, and a teacher of medieval music in the Society for Creative Anachronism, the musical part of it has always held a special place for me. Next to John-Boy, Jason is my favorite of the children, and his musical talents draw me to him in a special way. So if I could add that recorder to "Mein Kampf" and the German Bible from "The Firestorm," of which I am already Keeper, I would appreciate it. I promise, in spite of tremendous temptation, I won't ask to "keep" anything more!
KAREN’S COMMENT: I love your keeper items Ellen. Reverend Fordwick thought that John Boy would make an excellent Keeper for those German books and I’m sure he would be proud to hand them over to you for safekeeping. J
Hello again, Karen,
I have a question that perhaps someone can answer. In a first-season episode, The Minstrel, there were a couple of interesting songs played at least twice on the show. One began, "I want to see an ocean" and included such phrases as "not my parents' child." The other, sung by Maude Gormley, was a lonesome love song that included the line, "She wore white lilies on her breast, how I long to lay my head there." I thought both songs were superb, and very much belonged in the episode. My question is, "Does anyone know the titles to these songs, or where the complete lyrics could be found?" Thanks in advance.
KAREN’S COMMENT: Very good question Jim. I love the folk songs which often are sung during different episodes. Christy had some interesting ones on there too. I visited Bill Atkins site and found these songs which Maude sang. Jamie also sang the last one:
I was born in east Virginia,
Johnson boys were raised in ashes.
I want to see an ocean, know if it
tastes of salt.
Maybe the lyrics will prompt somebody’s memory about the titles. If you head over to Bill’s site you can find an awful lot of info. Go to http://users.galesburg.net/~atkins/waltons.html
It's been a while since I've contributed to the forum, but I did want to write and let you know that our family have left our "Walton's Mtn" in N. India and moved back to the USA this month. After 11 years living in India, it's been quite a reverse culture shock for us!
My wife's parents need our help as they're in their 80's now, and our second son in now joining his older brother in college, so we decided it was time to return "home" to be nearer to our boys. Our youngest son will try to be a "normal" American high school kid this fall.
We're settling in Quarryville, PA which is a beautiful area in Lancaster County, PA but we will miss the Himalaya Mtns!! I do plan on making the "pilgrimage" to Schuyler, VA sometime this fall with my family. Is there a reunion planned for this year? I'll check the Walton's Mtn. website, don't worry.
If I could be a "keeper" of something on the Waltons (besides the house, which has already been taken), then I guess I'd like Drusilla's Pond. It's such a peaceful place that seemed to be a favorite family place to relax. I'm always looking around for a "Drusilla's Pond" place where ever we live that we can build family memories around. I'm sure we'll find our own "pond" in Lancaster County.
Keep up the good work of putting together the digest. Your hard work is really appreciated!!
Bye for now,
Paul (formerly from N. India) now from Lancaster County
KAREN’S COMMENT: The Walton family had a lot of fun times at Drucilla’s Pond. What everyone’s favorite Drucilla’s Pond episode?
I have only written one other time but wanted to let you know how much I enjoy receiving the monthly Waltons Digest and appreciate you taking the time to put this together every month. I'm from Topeka, Kansas and I grew up watching the Walton's and Little House on the Prairie. I have three children now and they are enjoying the shows on DVD.
I have been reading the "keeper" letters and would like to be the keeper of all of the Walton's Christmas trees. Every episode with a Christmas tree in it has been so heartwarming. My two favorites are "The Homecoming" and "The Best Christmas". It's a tradition in our family to decorate our Christmas tree with one of the Walton's Christmas episodes playing in the background. My children especially love "The Homecoming".
Thanks again for all you do,
KAREN’S COMMENT: The Christmas trees are very special in the Walton household I think. I think it would be such fun to trudge out in the snow or cold just trying to find the right tree. Spare a thought for us over here. We have roadside stands selling Christmas trees because we’re in the city – in fact lots of organizations sell them as a fund raiser – but because the weather is so hot at that time of the year we they have to try to keep them looking as fresh as possible. We normally don’t get ours until the weekend after my birthday, and it keeps fairly well in a container/stand thing we have which you can fill with water. Trees drink a lot! You don’t keep them much after Christmas Day though because the needles are always dropping on the floor. I love to decorate it as a family too. It’s nice to remember different decorations and when they were bought and different memories of them all. Some I’ve made and some the boys have made which makes them extra special.
I just received my July Walton's Digest today, following closely on the trail of the June Digest. For a new member, this has been a great week!!! Thank you for allowing me to be part of and to interact with, a wonderful group of people who share something so special.
I would very much like to be "The Keeper" of the wonderful love affair between John and Olivia. Of all TV families I think that theirs was the most naturally affectionate and romantic. When The Walton's first aired I had only been married for 2 years and had a baby son. I am now married for 35 years and have a grown son, daughter and wonderful 7 year old granddaughter. Maybe it was good luck to watch the gentle, sweet romance between John and Olivia and to have my own marriage evolve in much the same way. My husband is the image of Ralph Waite in his facial features and his build, the more so as he ages...so I always had a bit of a crush on John Walton.
By the way, I have just hunted through my small collection of old "Trixie Belden" books. I decided to read the "Red Trailer Mystery" after many years and forgot how enchanting these books are. Thanks for the memory which has resulted in time well spent.
I live in Calgary, Alberta Canada and we are coming up for our annual "Calgary Stampede". It is a 10 day event that perhaps many of you have heard of. Quite a force around these parts and almost 100 years old. Everything goes very western and wild!
KAREN’S COMMENT: Glad you found your Trixie books. They’re a good read aren’t they?
Good day Karen,
I love receiving your Waltons digest emails and read them immediately with much excitement!
I would love to be the keeper of the: Squeaky front & side screen doors of the house, the light in the window at night (as they say good night) to each other and also the keeper to the goodnights they say to each other!! I hope I can pick all 3!! It was hard to narrow it down and so many good ones were taken.
KAREN’S COMMENT: Great choices Terry.
I am glad that they have the Waltons on twice a day now on Hallmark. Hope it will continue this way.
I liked all those who were the keepers of certain items. And thank you for the obituary of the other John Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart.
KAREN’S COMMENT: I’m glad you and others with aol.com finally managed to get their digests through.
Hi everyone! Did anyone see a special on the A&E channel about child actors?
Mary McDonough was interviewed briefly…very interesting and for some very sad.
I am very impressed at all the things that people have chosen to be the keeper of. Also, I wanted to let you know Karen, that I did the celeb match with Richard Thomas! I was a 98% match! Who knew?!
Things are pretty quiet here in central Illinois, my family had a great 4th but it rained quite a bit! Oh, I almost forgot, you had asked who might have made Grandma’s rocking chair? I think since it had such a lovely painting of flowers that maybe it was a gift from Martha Corinne? Or maybe grandpa made it and Martha painted it for him! Good question! Take care all!
KAREN’S COMMENT: I hadn’t really considered the possibility of Martha Corinne having given it to Esther but it’s a good suggestion. I had never noticed the painting on it so I’ll have to go back and have another look at it.
Thank you for another great digest. I have just finished reading it. It’s so great to read about what each and everyone will be the keeper of.
I’d love to be the keeper of the sawmill and John Sr's hat. Is that possible? I just love John Walton!
KAREN’S COMMENT: It’s all yours Marie. Make sure that John hangs his hat up when he comes in from all that work won’t you!
I want to thank you for adding me to your digest. I like the Keeper idea, but I was wondering if you could explain it a little to me. I wanted to tell everyone about my experience in Schulyer.
Let me start off by telling everyone, that I am only 21 so I did not have the chance to see any of the originals I have had to rely on the repeats which don't go in-order which drives me nuts.
Back on June 25th, a friend and I eye decided off the cuff that we would make the 4 hr trip down from Gettysburg. We spent the night just outside of Charlottesville, and then made the hike down to Schulyer the next morning. What a road, man I didn't think they still had roads like that!!! When we finally got to Schuyler, I was relieved, (that we hadn't fallen off the mountain) and very excited. We stooped into the Museum and went through it. It was very neat and there was tons of stuff!!! I have many pictures. I didn't realize all the different toys and other nick nacks they had come out!!. We watched the narrative which was very interesting. I am one those people who like to find out what happened to the cast afterwards and I like to find out what happened to the original people.
After the museum, we took our map which we had bought at Waltons Country Store and started to look for all of the places. This was very exciting. I got many pics of the different places ( Rockfish dam, and old works, First Church, Baptist Church, Soap Stone Factory, and off course the house) I think I took 15 photos of the house. While there I stooped at Polly's, I didn't realize at the time that was the old barn and that the house was right behind it. Polly was wonderful and I think the time I spent listening and talking with her and seeing Mama's rocking chair, was the best part for me.
Overall I had a blast!!! It was really neat to see just how different and similar the Walton's are to the real deal the Hamner's, the biggest difference was that in real life the Walton's were Town people. I must admit I thought the Walton's were very similar to the real life Hamner's and in ways they are, but they are very different in other ways.
Thank you for all of your hard work and Have a Great Day:)
KAREN’S COMMENT: I have to ask you Don, if you think that road was bad then how do you think we from Australia managed with it?????? I was amazed too. It’s very narrow and windy, and there’s nowhere to go if you need to pull over BUT we here in Australia drive on the other side of the road so it was all really topsy turvy for us. I’m surprised we got there at all but thankfully Rod got us there without any mishaps and we didn’t pass too many other cars. They all had the sense to stay at home that day. J Glad you enjoyed your trip.
I would want to keep the holding of hands at the table, for meals, including the Thanksgiving meal with John Boy coming out of his coma, reaching for his Dad and Mom's hands.
KAREN’S COMMENT: It’s all yours Cindy. Such a nice gesture too. I wonder how it came to be?
Hi Karen, hi Walton friends,
In thinking about words or sayings that are old fashioned, one that immediately came to mind for me was 'right much'. This is a term that you here in The Waltons, and it is a term that I here frequently where I live in VA. It is an old fashioned term....."I used right much of that sugar for the cake.".....is an example. Nowadays, I here it and it is usually a person who has grown up in VA. I don't know if it's unique to this part of the country or not.
Karen, my niece who is 15 is coming your way.....she is a youth ambassador and had to apply and be accepted to travel all the way to Australia and New Zealand. She leaves the US tomorrow (July 9th) and will be gone for three weeks. I will be so interested to hear what she has to say about her trip down under.
You were right.....the last digest was huge and terrific! Thanks!
KAREN’S COMMENT: Your niece must be coming to the end of her stay by now. I hope she enjoyed her trip. Now that saying is not one I’m familiar with. I forgot to think about that question too.
I was on your Walton Digest list some time ago and would like to get on it again. I live in Washington state in the USA and we get the Waltons on the Hallmark Channel on weekdays at 9am and 12noon. I enjoy starting the day with it and our children like it too.
Please add me to the digest list and I would also like to be on the Keeper list for the baby cradle used by Ben and Cindy for Virginia and the family wedding dress worn by Mary Ellen and I think Erin as well.
Do you know what has become of Leslie Winston who played Cindy? I would appreciate any information on her.
Thanks for your time, I am excited to hear from you.
KAREN’S COMMENT: I think the baby cradles used were the same, and Olivia had it out too when she was pregnant again. With the wedding dresses though, I’m fairly sure they were different. Mary Ellen wore Grandma’s old one and Erin’s was actually Mary McDonough’s own mother’s dress. At least I think that’s correct. Yep, Mary Ellen’s had a high neckline which Erin’s didn’t. I guess they could have changed that though. Not sure if the head veil piece was the same. It’s a bit hard to see it.
I would like to be keeper of Olivia's Bible. In Proverbs 31 there is a passage describing a virtuous woman. This is something I strive to be, and I feel that Olivia is a wonderful example of a Christian wife, mother, daughter and friend.
KAREN’S COMMENT: I was surprised that the bible didn’t go earlier Shayna. I know Olivia would have wanted it to be in the hands of someone like you.
Hello from Maine (and Florida)
I would like to be "keeper" of the Pony Cart and/or the gazebo which John built for his "Livvy" on Walton's Mountain as an anniversary surprise. I loved the ending when Grandpa brought all the family to sing to them, then left blankets and took the family home.
Goodnight from Ruth
KAREN’S COMMENT: It’s such a lovely episode too. I’m surprised these two things didn’t go earlier too.
Hi Karen and all Walton Fans
I haven't written since I first asked to join the Digest in February. Where does the time go.......
I have been thinking about what I would like to be the Keeper of...........At first I thought I would like to be the Keeper of the big old-fashioned front porch. But since I have one almost exactly like it here at my home, I had to think a little more about it.
Then I remembered one show (of course, I can't remember the name or when it aired) where John Boy was asked to keep company with a writer who was invited to give a lecture at the college, I think this was the first time he truly fell in love and was tempted to leave the mountain and go to New York with her. At the last minute he realized he wasn't ready to leave his family or studies.
It was also John and Olivia's anniversary. Olivia wanted her and John to renew their vows and the children all got together to decide on the perfect gift. They decided to paint a portrait of their home without the front outer shell so you could see all the rooms and all the furniture in the house. It was then up to each individual to paint a picture of themselves in any part of the house that they thought represented their interests or where they best fit in the house. I would love to have that picture, so I guess if no one else has spoken for it...I would love to be the Keeper of the anniversary picture. It would be placed in my living room for all to enjoy.
Thank you for this wonderful Digest
KAREN’S COMMENT: It’s a lovely picture Bertie. Keep it safe for us. It holds lovely memories.
Hello to everyone at the Digest,
I have been thinking on what I would be keeper of, since the idea came up, and my first choice (the treehouse) was taken by the time I got back to the site. I want to get my second choice on the record before it gets taken too!! I believe I would like to be keeper of the attic in the Walton's home. Can you imagine what wonderful things you would find there if you had the chance to explore the attic? I just remember what a wondrous place my grandparent's attic was to me when I was a young girl and how spellbound I would be when I came upon some very old item of interest. Occasionally, on the show, you got a glimpse of the attic, and the large old trunk that held so many Walton family treasures. Yes, this is what I would be keeper of, I am sure.
The episode that I saw this morning has always been very touching to me, although as a rule, the later shows in the series were not my favorite ones. (The shows after the departure of Olivia, John Boy, Grandma and Grandpa.) I am referring to the episode in which Jason's Jewish friend, Ted Lapinski, comes home with him for a visit. He has just recently lost his own Grandfather, and finds out that he has not died as a result of fighting the war, but due to poison gas in an extermination camp. I especially like the part where he is pointing out the similarities of Ike's store to his Grandfather's deli in Chicago. He gets so much joy out of describing the details of the place he is homesick for...for that moment, he has a brief respite from his grief and homesickness. Somehow that was just very true to life for me.
I hope everyone is having a good summer, (or winter, depending upon which end of the planet you dwell!). With all the troubles that are in the world, and the knowledge of it all that comes from the instant communications these days, it is certain that at any given time, someone is suffering from a natural disaster, or tragedy of some kind. Still, I hope that everyone in our "Digest world" is able to find that peaceful place in their own heart, that steadfast core, where they can withstand these things. I think that is one of the pervasive messages of the Walton's that strikes a common chord in all of us who are faithful fans. Wouldn't we all like to be in the center of a large, loving family with such strong ties and traditions?
Well, I have gone on a rather long, wordy binge, but I just had to run that thought out to it's logical conclusion!!
Good night all, until next time...
KAREN’S COMMENT: Mary Ann I so wanted a house with an attic when I was growing up. Over here very few houses have them because we simply don’t build in that style. I’m sure we missed out. There are some very nice and touching later episodes but my favorites come from about seasons 4 and 5.
I would like to be the keeper of John and Olivia's sacrificial love for Elizabeth and Jim Bob as demonstrated in the episode where Jim Bob and Elizabeth are raising the calf that is sold and they are willing to give up the money to have the calf. (Episode name…The Calf) I really love how this demonstrates the family's togetherness and love for each other. That is so important and not seen as often as it should be in families nowadays. Let me know if it is available or if I need to put my thinking cap back on.
I love getting the digest. Have a great week. Thanks for giving the link to the pictures of the reunion in California. I really enjoyed them. My condolences and prayers to Carolyn.
KAREN’S COMMENT: I think this and many other instances show the extra special love the family members have for each other. They really show a lot of unselfishness. What other instances can people think of?
Thank you for your kind note. I am excited to join the list once again. I was on it quite a few years back, but I think I lost touch when I changed email addresses about six-seven years ago. But then we had one child and now we have five! That will do it to you! :)
I didn't know school started in July, what are the school years like there? But then the seasons are opposite too, probably has something to do with it.
So glad to be back in touch with you. Looking forward to the welcome letter. By the way, do you have the book "Goodnight John-Boy"? I bought it probably about a year ago from a mail order catalog and it has a great history of the Waltons and an episode guide from each season. I think I look at it every day. If you don't have it, I would highly suggest it.
Thanks again, glad to be back in the "club",
KAREN’S COMMENT: Wow Lori…those five children will keep you busy! Yes I did get Goodnight John Boy, and just love it. I refer to it quite a lot when I’m looking at episodes or writing about them. As for our school year, yes we’re quite a bit different to the USA. We start term one (start of the school year) around late January, sometime around Australia Day which is January 26. Term one then goes through usually until Easter and we get a two week break. Term two goes through until the end of June and we get another two week break, and term three finishes mid September with another two week break. We then go back for the final term, term four and there’s a variety of finishing times. Most schools finish early to mid December, so our summer break is from then, until the start of the next school year. It’s about 5 or 6 weeks all up. Our school terms are about 10 weeks each. Sounds a lot of holidays but when you’re actually doing it school can be very tiring and demanding. By the way though, as teachers we get paid for all of those holidays, which makes it nice, although really we are expected, and do, do a lot of school stuff outside school hours. Over here the annual leave for most workers is 4 weeks paid time, but I think it’s less over there isn’t it?
I've been a long time fan of the Waltons, and you site is very informative, however I do have a question I can't seem to find the answer anywhere, how did Virginia Walton die?
KAREN’S COMMENT: Now this came through from a visitor to my site this month and I thought it would make a good talking point. We don’t know how Virginia died, but what sorts of theories do you have? Maybe she drowned in Drucilla’s Pond, or maybe she wandered away on the Mountain and got lost!!
Just a short note to tell you Ohio is still watching The Waltons. We get it twice a day now, once in the morning and again at noon. I’m introducing it to my grandchildren. Young people need some decent television to watch instead of all these crazy cartoons and other unnecessary shows. Thanks Karen for being out there for us.
KAREN’S COMMENT: It’s a great show to be able to share with youngsters Sandy. Keep spreading the Waltons message.
Hello again, to all of you, from Cynthia H.--
The Walton family and their neighbors were all respectful of one another, with no prejudices. This was unusual in many southern communities in those days, and the schools were segregated. Where I lived then, in rural New England, no prejudices were our ways, too. Negro and white children went to school together in a small school house with one room for each grade, 1 through 8. When we moved to Maryland for my dad's job schools were segregated there.
I have noticed that The Waltons episodes shown on Hallmark for a quite a number of days have all been the ones to do with war times. This seems appropriate in light of these terribly sad times of wars all over the world. Far too many of the military from other countries, as well as innocents who are residents of the countries where wars are being fought, are losing their lives. Recently I learned about the first item below and I certainly do wish it to be true, and that the Lord will help end all the fighting for everyone in the world soon. Everyone needs to honor faith in God, as the Walton family did, no matter what his or her faith. Even John, who was not a church goer, showed his type of faith. Also, I am adding a second interesting short item to do with soldiers.
#1 - Do you know from whence cometh the motto on U. S. money? "In God We Trust" comes from Psalms 33, Verse 12. We need to remember this motto in today's troubled times! It was placed on United States coins because of increased religious sentiment during the Civil War. This verse in The Revised Standard Bible says "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!" It is slightly different in other versions of the Bible. From the U. S. Treasury Department records, it appears that the first such appeal came in a letter dated November 13, 1861, written to Secretary Chase by Rev. M. R. Watkinson, Minister of the Gospel from Ridleyville, Pennsylvania. When Congress passed the Coinage Act of February 12, 1873, it said that the Secretary "may cause the motto IN GOD WE TRUST to be inscribed on such coins as shall admit of such motto." It was first used on US paper money in 1957 on the $1.00 silver certificate. In 1964 it was first put on the Federal Reserve notes, the last time being on the $100 note in September 1966.
#2 - The expression "Dressed to the nines!" that is said about a well dressed person came from the Civil War era, too. It referred to a soldier's knee length Frock Coat. They had double straight rows of 9 buttons each down the front to the skirt of the coat.
KAREN’S COMMENT: Your messages here are spot on Cynthia. We’ve had a lot of trouble over the years with prejudices to our Aboriginal community too. At times I wonder just how far we’ve come too. I was horrified to discover as a child that Aboriginal people did not have the ability to vote at elections until I think it was 1966. We ask all of our young men to fight in wars to protect Australia, but we wouldn’t give certain members of society a vote, and out here voting is compulsory. I think that was shameful. There were some prejudices of sorts between religious communities too, with Catholics and Protestants not really mixing with each other. It’s quite different nowadays though thankfully.