Episode 9 - The Tempest

(5 February1981)
Writer: E.F.Wallengren.
Director: Gabrielle Beaumont.
(no music credit)


"A chill settled on Waltons Mountain that first autumn after the conclusion of the Second World War. Mary Ellen had been caught up in a whirlwind love affair that seemed certain to add a new member to the family. But a storm was brewing to the south, a storm that ended her romance and called her to a distant part of the country in search of a man she believed to be dead".


Mary Ellen walks toward the bus stop, accompanied by Betty Howell and Jason, preparing to leave for Florida in order to resolve the mystery of her husband. Jason is worried that Mary Ellen will meet with Curt by herself, since Betty is stopping in Raleigh, North Carolina to visit with her mother. Later, at the Dew Drop Inn, Jason finds that Jonesy has returned to the Mountain, unable to continue his travels, with Mary Ellen still on his mind.  On the bus, Mary Ellen and Betty talk about Curt, describing him before and after the war.


At Pickett’s Metal Products, Erin argues with J.D. about contracts and work conditions. Just then Jonesy walks in hoping to find a job. He tells J.D. that he was involved with Marine procurement in San Diego, California. J.D. hires him as his First Assistant Manager, demoting Erin to Second Assistant Manger. Erin angrily quits, walking out of the office.


As Betty departs the bus, she gives Mary Ellen her house key so she can stay there while visiting Curt. Arriving at Lockeburg, Florida, Mary Ellen asks a woman for directions to Betty’s house and to Curt’s house. After settling in, Mary Ellen visits Curt, who tells her that he doesn’t recognize her.  Mary Ellen reminds him of the letter he almost sent her, but he refuses to talk anymore. That night, Mary Ellen observes Curt standing outside Betty’s house. He hastily leaves when she calls out to him.


Ike and Corabeth talk with the Baldwin sisters, saying they spend almost as much money on cleaning supplies for the house, than on food. Corabeth thinks they should sell their large house and move into a smaller one. After hiring Erin, Corabeth hopes she will be able to convince Miss Mamie and Miss Emily to move. At Pickett’s, Jonesy and J.D. are confused about everything without Erin to help.


The next morning, Mary Ellen runs into Curt at the grocery store. He admits that if he had wanted her in his life, he would have called her in Virginia. Mary Ellen asks him how he knew she was from there. They walk to a bar where Curt relates his experience on December 7, 1941. After that he never wanted anything to do with medicine. Mary Ellen asks him what he is hiding from. Curt angrily stomps outside.


Corabeth educates Erin about the business of real estate. She places pressure on Erin in order to convince the Baldwin’s to sell. At the house, Erin practices her real estate skills on John-Curtis. Jonesy arrives looking for help from Erin with the Heartland deal, knowing that J.D. has no idea how to run his business. As they talk, Mary Ellen calls to say Curt is, indeed, living in Florida but is troubled. She asks about Jonesy but Erin says they have not heard from him after Jonesy has asked not to reveal his presence. Erin agrees to look at the contract, if Jonesy agrees to stay.


Erin is given reasons from Corabeth as to why the Baldwin sisters should sell their house. Corabeth tells her to state those reasons to the sisters, and she will join her later. Just then, J.D. enters to ask Erin to return for a few hours each day at full pay. Erin refuses. Miss Mamie and Miss Emily agree with all of Corabeth’s reasons, but still are uncertain whether to sell the house. Erin’s conscious takes over; telling the ladies that selling would be the worst thing to do. They tell Corabeth that upon Erin’s recommendation they won’t be selling. The next morning, Erin tells Ben and Elizabeth that she was fired.


Curt returns to find his house cleaned and Mary Ellen asleep on the couch. He wonders why she is still here. Mary Ellen states that she is not leaving until she gets some answers. Curt admits he doesn’t love her and John Curtis anymore. She is quickly losing her feelings for him, too; but she doesn’t understand how he can’t love his only son. Curt finally admits that his war injuries made him unable to father another child.


J.D. is angry at Jonesy for letting Erin help him with the contract. He accuses Jonesy of incompetence, resulting in Jonesy telling J.D. he is the last person that should make that statement. Jonesy quits.


Betty returns home to find that Mary Ellen was unable to help Curt. After finding about the compassionate things that he did for Betty, Mary Ellen decides to try one more time. She tells Curt that Betty loves him and that he has showed her love in many ways, such as a kiss, an embrace, and comforting her after a loss.


At the house, Jonesy tells Erin that he has also quit. Soon J.D. appears at the door, on his knees begging for Erin to return. Jonesy tells J.D. that she already has an offer from Calhoun Sheet Metal. In response, he doubles her salary with a fifteen percent share in the profits. She agrees.


After Betty says goodbye to Mary Ellen, Curt appears with a fishing pole as a present for his son. They hug and Curt says, “Sorry.” Mary Ellen waves goodbye from the bus, as she observes Curt’s arm around Betty. Upon returning to the Rockfish station, Mary Ellen is surprised by Jonesy, who is the new geology professor at Boatwright.


"Mary Ellen leaned heavily on Jonesy for support during those first few months after her trip to Florida. But her greatest source of strength was John Curtis, the little boy she and Curt had brought into the world in the waning hours of a simpler era".


Mary Ellen: Goodnight John Curtis.
John Curtis: Goodnight mother.



Jonesy has taken a room at the boarding house.

Betty’s mother lives in Raleigh. Her father is dead.

J.D.’s cousin is Y.W.


Also appearing:

Ike and Corabeth Godsey (Joe Conley and Ronnie Claire Edwards), Miss Mamie and Miss Emily Baldwin (Helen Kleeb and Mary Jackson), Rose Burton (Peggy Rea), John Curtis (Michael and Marshall Reed), Jonesy (Richard Gilliland), Curt Willard (Scott Hylands),  Betty Howell (Pamela McMyler), J.D. Pickett (Lewis Arquette), Estelle (Mo Malone).