Episode 6 - The Journal

(25 October 1979)
Writer: Robert Pirosh.
Director: Philip Leacock.
Music: Alexander Courage.


"There is something in a mountain which gives strength and stability to those who know it well. Its timeless slopes make troubles seem smaller. We were to draw on that strength many times during the anxious years of World War Two, but those years brought troubles of a kind we had never known before. The pain of separation from loved ones whe were sent overseas, and who might have become casualties or prisoners of war. The agony of waiting".


A sleepless night finds Olivia staring out the window. John awakens with the hope of calming his wife's worries over John-Boy. John suggests visiting the Richmond Red Cross for possible assistance in locating their son. As the family gathers for breakfast, Rose tells them that their parents have already left to find help in locating John-Boy. Jeffrey is worried when he comes inside after trying to feed Reckless. Jim Bob finds Reckless lying on her side with a dry nose. Jim Bob is also concerned with the health of the dog.


At the Red Cross, Olivia and John tell Mrs. Denman that their last letter from John-Boy had been sent from Sicily while he was covering the invasion for Stars and Stripes. Mrs. Denman tells them that she will contact their Washington D.C. office in order to begin an official search.


Jeffrey enters Ike's store looking for a toy to cheer up Reckless. Although a ball costs more than the nickel in his pocket, Ike sells it for just five cents. After Jeffrey leaves, Corabeth admonishes her husband for being too easy on the boy. She also indicates he has been too easygoing with their daughter. Just then Elizabeth and Ben walk in to purchase items needed for supper. Ike yells back to Aimee that Elizabeth has arrived. Corabeth again corrects her husband for setting a bad example. Elizabeth tells Aimee she has run out of yarn for the sweater she is darning for Albert, a young man who is leaving for overseas. Aimee is darning a muffler for Philip whom she thinks is dreamy. As the girls talk, Ike asks Ben if he has been a good father. Ben thinks Ike has done a good job.


John and Olivia return home late to find that Mr. Henshaw called about John-Boy. When John calls him, they learn that the man is associated with their son's publishing house. He was sent a manuscript by John-Boy before being reported missing. He asks to visit with them tomorrow.


In the morning, Jeffrey attempts to convince Reckless to play with the new ball. But the sick dog will not move. Ben tells Jeffrey that he is certain Reckless will feel better later. Mary Ellen, however, does not think Ben should promise something he is not sure about. When Mr. Henshaw arrives, he asks John and Olivia to sign the contract as John's Boy's next-of-kin so his new manuscript G.I. Journal can be published. Olivia becomes upset when he talks like John-Boy is already dead. John asks the man to leave so they can think about their decision. At Ike's store, Mr. Henshaw stops for one of the famous pickles that were so deliciously described in John-Boy's book Walton's Mountain. He abruptly leaves, however, after being subjected to some of Corabeth's poetic orations.


Olivia and John reminisce about the time they camped overnight on the mountain while Olivia carried John-Boy. Knowing that signing the contract will not bring John-Boy back to them, they decide to sign.


While Serena knits a baby blanket for Cindy,  and Elizabeth and Aimee knit presents for their soldier friends, Jeffrey searches for Reckless. Ben drives up after taking the dog to the vet in Rockfish. Mary Ellen and Ben tell Jeffrey and Serena that the dog may not get better. Jeffrey becomes upset with Ben for telling him that Reckless will improve. Ben confides in Mary Ellen that it is difficult being a parent.


John calls Mrs. Denmond to check if any information has been received. Olivia interjects whether it would help if they wrote letters and made telephone calls. Mrs. Denmond insists that they let the Red Cross do their job and just wait. When John begins to sound like Mrs. Denmond, Olivia becomes mad at him. John snaps back at his wife. They then realize what they are doing and apologize for their harsh words.


Mr. Henshaw returns to apologize. John and Olivia decide to sign the contract but learn that the company will promote the novel as one written by a soldier missing-in-action. Mr. Henshaw assures them that it will not be 'tasteless exploitation'. John and Olivia believe that is exactly what is planned and refuse to sign.


Jeffrey leaves with Reckless early in the morning. They walk toward a cave where Jeffrey can take care of the ailing dog. On the way, Reckless chases after a rabbit. Jeffrey cannot keep up and loses him. When he returns, Mary Ellen and Ben agree to help search. Jeffrey finds the dog at the bottom of a valley. But when Mary Ellen sees Reckless up close she realizes the dog has died. Jeffrey blames himself for bringing the sick dog into the woods. Ben says, however, that a dog knows when it is going to die and goes off by itself to die. He reminds Jeffrey that Reckless went off to chase a rabbit, so died a happy dog.


Jason enters Ike's store to buy a present for Mary Ellen. Ike gives Jason a package that has been sent to John and Olivia. Ike thinks it might be John-Boy's personal effects. Jason ignores the question.


At the Red Cross, Olivia and John learn from Mrs. Denmond that news was learned of John-Boy's return to London from Sicily early this month. However, on the seventh day of the month he went as an observer on a bombing mission. The airplane was hit and went down over occupied Belgium. Mrs. Denmond promises that the Red Cross will continue to check hospitals and prisoner-of-war camps. She sounds very unemotional in her description. When Olivia remarks that she does not realize how they feel, Mrs. Denmond admits that her son went down on the Hornet and that his body was never found. She leaves while John and Olivia hug each other, saying that they 'hope he has not left us'.


They return home to learn that Reckless has died. The family is waiting for their return. John tells the story that led to John Boy's disappearance. Jason than shows his parents the package. Inside the box is a letter from Mr. Henshaw and the original manuscript from John Boy's manuscript. Olivia reads passages relating to the bombings, his experiences, and his fears about not returning from missions. John and Olivia realize that these strong and powerful words need to be shared with the world.


"The book was published and brought comfort to many who wanted an honest report on their loved ones overseas - and those were the people for whom G I Journal was written".


Mary Ellen: Has anybody seen John Curtis he's not in his bed?
Jim Bob: He was in here a while ago. I thought he went back into your room.
Erin: How could you lose sight of him?
Mary Ellen: I was brushing my teeth. John Curtis? Everybody check around I'll look downstairs.
Odd noises from the piano.
Mary Ellen: Oh Lord another musician in the family. Come on John Curtis time for bed!
All the girls: Goodnight John Curtis.



Elizabeth met Albert when she danced once with him at the Home Front Canteen.

Mary Ellen says that the family has had Reckless for seven years, but is unsure how old she was when they first got her.

The price of a pickle at Ike's store is still 'a nickel for a pickle'.

Jason gives Ike a dollar in order to buy a compact for Mary Ellen that cost eighty-nine cents.

The first-class, registered package, that includes John-Boy's manuscript, sent to John and Olivia looks beat-up, with the return address torn off, and with eight dollars of stamps on its cover.


Also appearing:

Ike and Corabeth Godsey (Joe Conley and Ronnie Claire Edwards); Aimee Godsey (Rachel Longaker), Cindy Walton (Leslie Winston); Rose Burton (Peggy Rea), Serena Burton (Martha Nix), Jeffrey Burton (Keith Mitchell), John Curtis (Michael and Marshall Reed), Paul Henshaw (Richard Venture), Mrs. Denman (Diana Douglas), Miss Fisk (Lillah McCarthy).