Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Grandma Walton

(Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

I've been having a Waltons re-watching marathon, having recently seen all of Season 3, grabbing bits between household duties. It's been totally enjoyable. Something made me think about a favorite episode from Season 2, which I looked at last night. It's episode 12 of that season, about Grandma being bequeathed the "huge" sum of $250 through the will of a deceased old friend.

You know I always look for lessons from most of these old shows and movies and such is the case here. I'm not saying everything is perfectly sterling in these Walton stories. In fact, some of them are frankly accurate regarding human failings in the midst of otherwise wholesome family life. But all in all, I think the quote found on the back of the book we have here entitled Goodnight John-Boy is a true one:

"For nine years The Waltons entertained America and the world. But this television series was more than just entertainment. Each episode combined wonderful stories and 'teachable moments' in which adults and children alike learned the importance of honesty, hard work, respect, responsibility, and kindness."

Going back  to the episode mentioned above, we see the touching story of Grandma, who receiving this bequest, made a listing of how she intended to spend the money. I won't detail it all (please watch the episode), except to say the bulk of the money was to be applied to John-Boy's education. When news came shortly after that Grandma's friend had died indigent and therefore there actually would be no money coming, of course the dear old soul was devastated.

The lessons in the episode are multiple, but at this point I just want to focus a brief moment on that which touched me most. It was the love between this grandmother and her eldest grandson. First, I love how he responded to her when he first found out she wanted to give so much of the bequest to his college fund and her words that she wanted to give something to him. "But Grandma," he said, "You've been giving to me all my life." Oh my. What words. Then, in the aftermath of her bitter disappointment that she wouldn't be able to do this for him and her feelings that she had ruined things for him (because of the bequest, they had felt they could  use the money previously set aside for him for a needed hot water heater), he cared little about that. He cared about her. We see him going to her room and helping her smile again by voicing, among other things, something so poignant: "I always felt that this family was rich, and we never had any money." *sigh*

Now tell me, grandmothers. Do you, like me, want to follow in the tradition of Grandma Walton, who thought first of her family in hard times, but also first of her family in perceived good times? I know I do. In another story I remember John-Boy saying, "I cherish you, Grandma." Oh may we follow in this woman's footsteps in her care and generosity that made her deserving of those words.

Maxine, a/k/a Nanna

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