Episode 6 - The Volunteer

(27 October 1977)
Writer: Kathleen Hite.
Director: Philip Leacock.
Music: Alexander Courage


"In 1939, when the threat of war hung over our country, it seemed to me that our lives altered much in the same way that winds moved down Waltons Mountain, changing sharply sometimes, but more often gentling us so gradually that it took a length of time to show the change had come about at all".


Jim Bob places an antenna on the barn roof for his short-wave radio. Elizabeth tries to help but has problems with Rover the peacock that is aggravated with all of the commotion. Grandpa thinks the bird needs a female companion. Near the water, Maude Gormley paints Erin’s portrait but gets little cooperation from her who is anxious to leave for work. As Erin leaves, Maude makes some finishing creative touchups.


G.W. drives up to the house and is eyed by a hostile Rover. Olivia asks G.W. to try on a robe she is making for Jason. As G.W. prepares to drive Erin to work, Grandpa asks him for some help. Erin can’t believe that the family treats him almost like one of the family. Jim Bob drives Maude to the general store where Ike agrees to display her paintings. After driving Erin back from Miss Fannie’s, G.W. eats supper with the family. While listening to the radio, G.W. puts his hand on Erin’s shoulder. She is uncomfortable with what he does and decides to take a walk. G.W. makes the excuse that he should leave and walks out with Erin. After some small talk G.W. asks, ‘Erin, you don’t want to get married or anything, do you?’ Erin is surprised by the question. Erin tells G.W. that she likes him but does not want to marry him. He leaves after the rejection and says good-bye to Erin with finality in his voice.


John discovers his daughter crying in the kitchen. Erin tells her father about the marriage proposal that G.W. gave to her earlier. Erin says she isn’t going to marry him but doesn’t know why she is crying. She thinks she has lost a friend and feels lonely about it. Erin states, ‘Can you love someone and not know about it?’ The next morning G.W. does show up to take Erin to work much to her relief. Pulling off to the side of the road, G.W. announces to Erin he is volunteering for the army and will not be able to drive her to work after today. Abel the iceman drops Erin off at the Willard’s where Grandpa and Mary Ellen learn about G.W.’s decision. Mary Ellen is shocked to hear the news knowing G.W. only wanted to farm a patch of his Daddy’s land and to get married. Grandpa thinks he may be leaving to forget an unrequited love.


Erin is disturbed that everyone misses G.W. Jason forces her to admit that she also misses him. Erin then receives his first letter from the army camp and reads it over and over again. Rover it still acting strange when Maude walks out of the barn trying to coax the peacock to pose with its wings spread in a ‘fanciful way’. Later Erin responds to a knock on the front door and finds G.W. standing there. Olivia and John walk upstairs so the two young people can be alone. But their solitude is quickly broken when the children eagerly run down to greet their friend.


Ike tries to locate the perfect place to display Maude’s paintings when a women walks in looking for directions to Rockfish. She is immediately attracted to one of Maude’s paintings she describes as ‘primitive but bold and clear’. She buys it for three dollars. Although Maude sold the picture, she tells Ike he will still get his commission; whether he earns it or not. While driving Maude back to Ike’s store, Jim Bob looks for Rover who has disappeared. After Maude walks in the store, she pays Ike his commission for her single sale. She then informs Ike that she has decided to let J. Wellington Penrow sell her paintings. She bluntly tells Ike she does not like her paintings sitting next to his pickles and cheese.


G.W. and Erin go on a picnic where they discuss their feelings and the future. G.W. suggests Erin visit him at the army camp in Virginia Beach. But, when John finds out her plans, he puts his foot down and says ‘NO’, knowing the type of women that visit army camps. After discussing it with Olivia and thinking about it throughout the night, he finally agrees to trust his daughter and G.W. While the family sets down for supper, G.W and Erin are doubling with Ernie and Judy for dinner at a nightclub. But the couple disappears while dancing leaving G.W. and Erin alone. When G.W. walks Erin back to her boarding house, he suggests that he walk her up to her room. G.W. tries to be a little too forward with Erin and as he leaves says, ‘I sometimes wish you weren’t such a nice girl.’


Grandpa looks for the lost Rover with Jim Bob’s car and finds the peacock at Walt Bicker’s place. Rover is proudly strutting around Ruby a peahen. Grandpa brings the pair back to the Waltons while Erin arrives back telling her parents that she and G.W. are the best of friends.


"The peahen which Grandpa brought home as a companion to Rover did ease Rover's loneliness, and he became a much better tempered bird, but as a pair they remained, like Erin and GW.Haines, just friends".


Elizabeth: Mama?
Olivia: Yes Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: Are the best things in life really free?
Olivia: They surely are.
Elizabeth: A bicycle.
Olivia (slowly): No.
Elizabeth: A trip to the ocean?
Olivia (laughingly): No, but things like good health, and love -
John: - and a good night's sleep!
Elizabeth: But not a bicycle?
Olivia: No. Goodnight Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: Goodnight Mama, goodnight Daddy.
John: 'Night honey.
Elizabeth: Not even a trip to the ocean?



G.W. is five foot eleven inches in height.

The license plates for Jim Bob’s car is 52-7504.


Also appearing:

Ike Godsey (Joe Conley); G.W. Haines (David Doremus); Maude Gormley (Merie Earle); Abel Bingley (David Clarke); Lady Customer (Nadyne Tarney); Judy (Wendy Rastatter); Ernie (Channing Clarkson); Soldier (Kevin Scott Allen); Radio Announcer (Hank Stohl).