Episode 20: The Fulfillment


(7 February 1974) 44/2/20

Writers: Michael Russnow and Tony Kayden.

Director: Nick Webster.

Music: Arthur Morton


"The Depression years were hard ones for just about everyone in the country. Our family had little money and few luxuries, but we did have food on the table and clean clothes to wear, even if they were mostly hand-me-downs, and a bountiful supply of love to sustain our household. Other families were not as fortunate as we were, and I remember how my mother and father occasionally invited a child from the Jefferson County Orphanage to share our life on Walton’s Mountain".


Olivia and John drive Stevie to the house, an orphan living at the Jefferson County Orphanage. Hobie Shanks suggested bringing him to the house for a visit. The family greets the boy, but he is reluctant to warm up to them. In the boys’ room, Stevie leaves his belonging in his suitcase because he believes they are safer there. John-Boy tries to make him welcome but Stevie says he never stays any place for very long to get use to it. John-Boy joins John and Grandpa, asking if he could go up to the Norton place, after Curtis burnt his hand with second-degree burns. John-Boy helps Curt with his horseshoeing business.


As they work, Curt’s wife, Ann, returns in a taxi from a Charlottesville shopping trip. Ann asks Curt to pay the taxi driver three dollars (two dollars, fifty cents for the ride, and fifty cents for a tip). Curt doesn’t understand why she didn’t take the bus from Hickory Creek. Curt tries to explain to “Annie” that money doesn’t grow on trees but she won’t listen. John-Boy asks Curt what is the matter, and Curt thinks she is not going to stay, being moody all the time and going back to dreaming about the movies.


At supper, the family eats beans while John-Boy explains the spending problems Curt is dealing with concerning his wife. Olivia wants to take some salve over for Curt’s burns. Stevie tries to steal Elizabeth’s dessert but is caught. John tells him to behave, but he runs upstairs. John goes after him, telling him that if he gave the family members a chance he would find they are pretty nice people. Stevie says he doesn’t want to get to know them. John lightly hits his shoulder, saying he is knocking the chip off. John tells Stevie that while he is here he will be treated just like one of his children. John tells the boy to mind his manners, stop fighting, and to march downstairs to finish his dessert. John smiles at him, and Stevie smiles back.


After supper, the family listens to music on the radio: “Bye, Bye Blackbird”. Olivia feels exhausted. Jason has decided he is old enough to stay up later, and Olivia agrees. Jason is happy with his new found freedom, but isn’t exactly sure what to do with it. Jason goes for a glass of water, and talks with Grandpa who is repairing his fishing line broken by a catfish. He decides to go to bed, unable to find much to do.


The next day, John-Boy helps Curt again. Olivia, Erin, and Elizabeth bring salve to Curt and peach preserves to Ann (that she and Verdie Grand made last summer). Ann invites Olivia inside as the girls watch the horseshoeing making process. Ann proudly shows off her living room and the Victrola, a replica of the living room in the movie “Mary Estes Goes to The Country”. Ann mentions she and Curt has stopped going to church because she felt out of place because it seemed so much of a family day. Ann watches the girls play hopscotch from the front window. She then admits that a Charlottesville doctor said she couldn’t have children. She breaks down and cries.


Back home, the children play hide-and-go-seek. Erin is “it”, but quickly finds Elizabeth climbing up to the tree house, and then finds Ben and Jim Bob inside the tree house. Olivia talks with Stevie, who thinks their play is a “kid’s game”, but Olivia says that it looks fun. Olivia then scolds Stevie for using a bad word, saying she will turn him over her knee if he says it again. Grandma is peeling apples, but when she leaves the filled bowl Stevie knocks it over. He runs off, afraid of being punished.


Along the road, Curtis drives up. When Stevie says he doesn’t need any help, Curt throws a stick of gum to him. Stevie jumps into the cab, and wonders why Curt has a horseshoe hanging on his rear-view mirror. Curt says it is because he is a blacksmith and makes shoes for horses. When Stevie doesn’t believe him, Curt decides to show him his “horseshoe factory”. When they arrive John-Boy sees Stevie, and wonders why he is away from home. Curtis calms him down by giving the boy his hat. Stevie tells them what happened with the apples, so they quickly drive Stevie back. Grandma is rolling dough when Stevie walks in. Grandpa catches him and takes his defense when Grandma makes him read Bible verses. Olivia thanks Curtis for bringing Stevie home, explaining that Hobie Shank asked them to take him in for a while from the orphanage. Curtis says he likes the boy, because he’s spunky.


Curtis and Ann visit the Waltons for dinner, where John and Olivia explain that Stevie is going back to the orphanage soon. Ann had thought he was a distant relative, and then realizes that they are over to the house so that they might consider adopting him. She suddenly develops a splitting headache and tells Curtis that they must leave. John-Boy comments later that she became ill after hearing about Stevie. Curtis promises to play ball with Stevie tomorrow if John-Boy will bring him by the horseshoe factory.


The next day, John-Boy brings Stevie over to see Curtis, along with Jim Bob. The boys help Curtis while John-Boy talks with Ann. Inside the house she confronts John-Boy, saying he is plotting for them to take in the orphan. Ann tries to convince him (and herself) that she will someday have a natural-born child. Later, Curtis and John-Boy play with Stevie and Jim Bob as Ann looks on from the window. The men finally become exhausted, but are having such a good time don’t want to stop. That night, Curtis pets Earl while Anne suggests playing the Victrola. Curt tells her about all the life that Stevie brought to the day. He tries to convince his wife to stop fooling herself, and suggests adopting. Ann refuses to listen, and develops another headache.


The kids ride Old Blue as John-Boy and John show Stevie the saw blade. The kids tell Stevie that they are going to Ike’s for ice cream. As they leave, John tells John-Boy that Stevie must leave tomorrow. Just then Grandpa and Grandma come up before going on a night walk to catch fireflies. In the morning, the family looks glum, not wanting Stevie to leave. Stevie comes down but is not hungry. The kids try to keep his mind off his departure, but Stevie only wants to return his hat to Curtis. John-Boy takes him, and as Curtis and Stevie talk John-Boy is confronted by Ann again. John-Boy doesn’t believe that Stevie will find adoptive parents when he returns to the orphanage. He feels Curtis is overflowing with love for the child, and feels that if a person has love to give, then that person must give it out when the chance occurs.


Back home, Stevie packs his belongings. He shows the kids a locket of his Momma’s hair that she gave him before she left. Stevie says that people like to adopt babies, not “big guys” like him. At the same time, Curtis and Ann eat lunch. Curt upsets Ann when he mistakenly talks about children, and she begins to cry. At the house Grandma packs applesauce cake, brownies, and a shirt that all the children signed. Olivia tells Stevie that she will miss him, and they hug. The children bring down his suitcase, and all say good-bye to him near the truck. When John goes inside to retrieve his forgotten truck key, Curtis and Ann suddenly drive up to the house. Ann asks to privately speak with Stevie. She kneels in front of him and gives Curt’s hat back to Stevie. She asks Stevie that they would like to go to the orphanage with him so that they can adopt him to become their son; that is, if he wants that to happen. Stevie smiles, accepts the hat, and runs into Curtis’ arms. The family looks on.


"The Depression lingered on, hard times continued, but somehow the love that was most important to us on Walton’s Mountain extended itself to others, and love is what the Nortons’ gave to Stevie, and he to them".


John: Everybody quiet down now and get some sleep!

Olivia: 'Night everybody.

Jason: Goodnight, Mama, goodnight, Ben.

Ben: Goodnght, everyone.

Jim Bob: Goodnight, Mama.

Mary Ellen: Goodnight, Daddy.

John: Goodnight, children.

John-Boy: Goodnight, Daddy, goodnight, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth: Goodnight, John-Boy, goodnight, Jim Bob. - GOODNIGHT, JIM BOB!

Everyone (shouts): GOODNIGHT JIM BOB!

Jim Bob (sleepily): What's going on? I was asleep. What's everybody doing?

Everybody: Goodnight, Jim Bob!



Curtis’ dog is named Earl.

Curtis’ nickname for Ann is “Annie”.

Hobie Shanks has suggested that Stevie visit the Waltons. He appears in The Braggart, season one, episode eight.

The Nortons’ first appear in The Bicycle, season one, episode twenty-two. Ned Beatty plays Curtis in this episode, while Ivy Jones plays Ann, as she does in this episode.

The Waltons listen to the song “Bye Bye Blackbird” on the radio. The lyrics can be found at http://www.brave.com/bo/lyrics/byebyebb.htm.


Also appearing:

Stevie (Tiger Williams), Curtis Norton (Victor French), Ann Norton (Ivy Jones).


(synopsis written by William Atkins and edited by Arthur Dungate)