Episode 14 - The Unthinkable

(3 January 1980)
Writer: Dan Ullman.
Director: Ralph Waite.
Music: Alexander Courage.


"The battlefields of World War Two were thousands of miles from Waltons Mountain, but those times brought about many changes for my family on the home front. My brother Jason was training recruits at nearby Camp Rockfish and like all servicemen forming the close relationships that became so important during the war. For the youngest members of our household the changes were not too drastic, there were still chores to do, school to attend and the joys or sorrows that went with such events as bringing home Report Cards".


Jim Bob, Elizabeth, Serena, and Jeffrey bring home their report cards. Jeffrey shows Rose his poor grades, saying he doesn't think he is smart anymore. Elizabeth states that Jeffrey would do better if he finished his homework. He calls her "teacher's pet". As Elizabeth takes hot chocolate to John and Ben, she retorts, You're right, you aren't very bright.' At the mill, John likes Jim Bob's grades, but Elizabeth leaves without saying anything about her report card.


Jason tells Ted Lapinsky that he should apply for one of the six new drill instructor positions. Jason tells Ted that he learns quickly, 'like a bluebird takes to the sky', as his Grandpa would say. Ted says his Grandpa, who has returned to Poland, also had similar sayings like, 'If you have to hit a child, use a string.' But Ted says he will not be granted the D.I. position because Sgt. Barnes is anti-Semitic.


John reads John Curtis a story about Papa, Moma, and Honey Bear. Soon Mary Ellen and Erin arrive after a day of work. Mary Ellen is concerned about Elizabeth, prompting Rose and John to discuss the problems of a fourteen-year-old girl. John joins his daughter on the porch where Elizabeth reports receiving straight A's but admits being upset because the girls call her "teacher's pet" while the guys call her 'big brain'.


Jason and Sgt. Barnes bet a dollar on which squad--one led by Corporal Moraines and the other by Lapinsky--comes in first from their hike. The two soon observe Lapinsky's troop marching toward them. Barnes pays off on the bet but Jason has to remind Barnes that they were the first group. Barnes reluctantly gives the group 'passes all around'. Later Jason and Barnes enter the barracks to tell Ted that he was nominated for D.I. Barnes informs Lapinsky that he doesn't think he will be selected. Ted asks him, 'Is it because I'm Jewish?' Barnes refuses to answer. Ted lunges at Barnes, ready to fight. Afterwards, Ted admits to Jason that he received a letter about the death of his Grandpa. Jason says he knows how he feels after losing his Grandpa. He invites him to the house for the weekend. Jason explains to Ted that Barnes has nothing to do with his Grandpa's death. Ted counters, 'Yes, he does. He has everything to do with it!'


At the house, John and Jim Bob play checkers while Jason watches the game and Ted looks at the Walton family photograph album. He points out a picture of Zeb. In the morning Rose feeds the family pancakes. Ted tells everybody he wants to join in the chores. Changed into overalls Ted feeds the chickens for the first time. Jason tells the unknowing city-born Ted that the chickens have teeth and will bite. Later Jason shows Ted how to milk Myrtle. While feeding the hogs Ted announces that he likes to feed them, he just doesn't like to eat them. Later, Jason drives Elizabeth and Ted to Ike's store where he is introduced to Ike and Corabeth. When Ted asks for a bagel Ike doesn't realize it is a Jewish roll. He explains to Ike that his father owned a delicatessen similar to Ike's store, full of meats, cheeses, Greek olives, and sauerkraut.


That night, Ted shows the family how to dance the hora but in the middle of the festivity crumbles to his knees. He describes the letter he received that told about slave labor camps. He tells everybody that the letter says his Grandpa was killed by poison gas in an extermination camp. The family is stunned.


On Sunday morning, John calls Senator Roberts trying to obtain information about the extermination camps. Elizabeth asks Ted if she could say a prayer for his Grandpa at church. John then tells Ted that the Senator told him there is no foundation to the existence of extermination camps. Ted still is not convinced. John insists that mass killings just do not happen anymore, being unthinkable in 1943. Ted reminds John that, 'another world war was unthinkable until it happened'. Looking to the strength of Walton's Mountain, the pair decides to prepare a picnic for the family. They make sandwiches from Rose's roast and prepare potatoes and eggs.


When the family returns the meal is ready, complete with hot chocolate. But Elizabeth announces she does not feel like going. Ted follows her to the treehouse hoping he can help. Ted finds that most girls are taking classes in homemaking and cooking, while Elizabeth's teacher wants her to take chemistry. Besides making good grades in school Ted was also the only Jew. The other boys would tease him until the day his Grandpa walked home with him. His grandfather cursed at the boys, saying 'may you grow like an onion, with your head in the ground'. Ted asks Elizabeth what her Grandpa would say. Imitating Zeb's voice, Elizabeth says, 'The Good Lord gave you a mind. He meant for you to use it.' Elizabeth decides to join the picnic. The family sings My Darling Clementine while driving to the picnic site. After a delicious meal, Cindy and Rose talk, Serena and Jeffrey collect pinecones and Ted walks off while the others clean Grandpa's gravesite. When Jason finds Ted, he announces he will volunteer to join a unit going to Europe. He wants to find his Grandpa's grave.


At Zeb's grave, Ted says 'The Mourner's Prayer' for both Grandfathers. the five thousand-year-old prayer asks for peace for all.


"We were tragically mistaken. It was only near the end of the war that we learned that there had indeed been extermination camps - Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau and Freblinka, where unspeakable and unthinkable horrors had been committed, while on Waltons Mountain a young man prayed for his grandfather".


Elizabeth: Daddy:
John: Yes Honey.
Elizabeth: Do you think they'll send Ted Lupinsky to Europe?
John: Guess so. It's where he wants to go.
Elizabeth: I'm going to pray he'll be alright.
John: That might help Honey. It sure couldn't hurt.
Elizabeth: Goodnight Daddy.
John: Goodnight.



Jason is stationed at Camp Rockfish in the building named 'Headquarters - Company C, Orderly Room'.

Jim Bob has received A's in Science and Algebra, B's in Civics and English, and a C in History.

Upon completing their hike, Ted announces they found the flag on hill number seven.

Ted Lapinsky's hometown is Chicago and his family includes his Grandpa, Aunt Satie, father (owner of a delicatessen), mother, and brothers Leo and Sammy (both serving somewhere in the South Pacific).

Elizabeth is fourteen years of age.

Ted and his Grandpa would go to the Foster Avenue beach where they watched the sailboats.

The hora dance is a traditional Rumanian and Israeli round dance. Information about the hora can be found at: http://www.eliznik.org.uk/RomaniaDance/hora.htm.

Walton's Mountain is named after Zeb's great grandfather.

The license plates on John's truck are T9-126 Virginia.

Ted and Jason sing the song Home. Lyrics to the song can be found at http://www.cherylspelts.com/ruthetting/songs/home.htm.

Lyrics for My Darling Clementine appear at: http://www.bussongs.com/songs/oh_my_darling_clementine.php


Also appearing:

Ike and Corabeth Godsey (Joe Conley and Ronnie Claire Edwards); Rose (Peggy Rae); Serena (Martha Nix); Jeffrey (Keith Mitchell), Cindy (Leslie Winston), John Curtis (Michael and Marshall Reed), Ted Lapinsky (Todd Susman), Master Sergeant Barnes (Melvin E. Allen), Lucille (Erica Hunton), Flo (Mary Ann Oedy).