I was -6 years old when The Waltons premiered in September of 1972. I missed out on "meeting" them first time around. While growing up, I knew of The Waltons, but never sat down to watch it. My childhood television viewing mainly consisted of cartoons. At that time, movies and sitcoms were boring to me. I eventually began to watch The Brady Bunch (which I still watch once in awhile today) and the classic TV shows increased as the years went by.
Years ago, I remember seeing parts of "A Thanksgiving Story" on TV. I specifically remember one scene where John-Boy was taking a test and suddenly everything became blurry and he couldn't finish his test. He was having trouble with his vision. I had turned to that scene, therefore, I did not know what caused his vision loss, but I do remember watching the rest of the episode, wondering if John-Boy would become blind or see again. Since I'm visually impaired, I was intrigued by this episode because it dealt temporarily with disabilities and it was set in the past.
Fast forward to my college years--the late 1990s/early 2000s. My major was History and I also had a minor in English. You'd think I would've noticed The Waltons by now, but I didn't. I enjoyed writing historical fiction and some of my stories were set during the Great Depression and World War II. I was doing research for one of my stories, and a friend of mine suggested that I watch The Waltons. The name still sounded vaguely familiar. My friend explained the show to me and told me what he remembered when he was growing up in the 1970s. He attended a residential School for the Blind and on most nights, he and his bunk mates would start rather loud rounds of "goodnights" until the nuns who ran the school yelled at them to be quiet. He then said he was "forced" to watch The Waltons, but enjoyed it and now realizes how well the episodes were crafted and accurate protrayal of the Depression era.
I believe I would have became a fan of The Waltons much sooner than I did if the college I went to had decent channel in their line-up. It wasn't until a year after I graduated college that I discovered The Waltons. Again, I was flipping through channels and saw an episode where a young deaf child was welcomed into The Waltons home. I was glued to the TV for that hour, watching how people lived and dealt with disabilities back then. I felt they did an excellent job with the episode. At that time, I didn't know it was the episode that had premiered long ago in 1972. From then on, I watched the show until TV Land took it off the air temporarily. I then found The Waltons on the Hallmark Channel and began to watch them everyday, loving the show more and more and getting to know each of the characters.
I noticed, as I watched, that many of subjects talked about in the episodes were discussed in my history classes in college. And there were a few things I learned from the show that I did not learn in class. I eventually began to tape the episodes. Like all loyal viewers, we all have our favorite episodes and characters. In the next few pages, I will write about my favorite Waltons character. Stay tuned!
Copyright © 2011 by Kristi N. Zanker