A Waltons Story
(The Waltons Fan Fiction)
By: Kristi N. Zanker
Disclaimer: All publicly recognized characters, settings, etc. are the property of Lorimar Productions and Warner Bros. Television. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. I, in no way am associated with the owners, creators, or producers of The Waltons. No copyright infringement is intended.
During the week, John-Boy and Daisy would observe from their living room window and watch as Melissa waited for her friends to come by and walk with her to the playground. They would smile at one another. The moment in front of window was very relaxing for him. The apartment was quiet, the August breeze blowing the curtains toward them. It was so peaceful. As quickly as it came, the minute of solitude would disappear. His mind would twist and turn at the thought of reporting for the war again. He only had the weekend left and then he would be off to somewhere in the Pacific.
He called his family and they were ecstatic to hear from him. His parents asked him when he would be visiting the mountain again. John-Boy said he wasn’t sure because he had another Stars and Stripes assignment coming up. He talked to each of his siblings and got caught up with everyone. He was proud to hear that Elizabeth had a steady boyfriend named Drew. He told his youngest sister that he would like to meet him and to be sure he was treating her right. She assured him that everything was going well. He then commented on how grown up she was. After all, she was almost sixteen now. It seemed like yesterday, when she came to visit. The war had interrupted everyone’s lives.
When Daisy would go out shopping, or for a walk, John-Boy stayed in the apartment, and read. He would have the radio on but he couldn’t concentrate on the program or the book. While he liked the silence, it also frightened him. It was as if something terrible would happen any minute, as it did when he would be reporting. He did not tell Daisy any of this. He could not even write about it in his journal, which collected dust on the top shelf of their closet. He felt bad enough, waking her up on most nights from dreaming about the war.
On Monday, the two of them sat on the couch and looked out the window, just as Melissa walked down the street with her two friends.
“When do you leave?” asked Daisy.
“Tomorrow,” he said.
“I don’t want you to go,” she said quietly.
“I don’t want to either, but it’s what I have to do.”
“Would you like some more coffee?”
He noticed that Daisy never talked about war. Not that he did either. When the subject came up, she’d always ask if he wanted any coffee or another slice of pie. He laid his head back on the couch and shut his eyes. He was so tired lately, after waking up repeatedly during the nights and struggling to get back to sleep. He decided he was just going to rest today and try to sleep before heading anywhere.
Daisy handed him his coffee, but he told her he decided he didn’t want any. He got up and went down the hallway. Daisy called after him, “Are you all right?” He could hear her footsteps behind him. He sat on the bed and she sat next to him.
“John, are you sure you’re alright? You haven’t been yourself,” remarked Daisy.
“I’m just really tired. Please let me sleep,” was all he could say.
“Don’t use that tone with me.”
“I’m sorry. Please, I’ll talk to you later today.”
“Okay.” Daisy sighed as she got up and left the room.
John-Boy fell into a deep sleep, until he felt Daisy shaking him awake. At first, he thought he had had another nightmare, but she was yelling something at him.
“We dropped an Atomic Bomb on Japan!” she said.
“An Atomic Bomb was dropped on Hiroshima!”
Three days later, John-Boy and Daisy sat on the couch, glued to the radio. The announcer had told that another Atomic Bomb had been dropped. This time, it was on on the Japanese city Nagasaki. It took awhile for the news to sink in, and for John-Boy to realize that he was not going to war after all. After the news broadcast, he told Daisy he would head back to the Associated Press next week and see what stories he could write for them. She asked him about writing another novel, but he shoved the idea aside. He said he didn’t have any ideas for another novel. He added that the second one hadn’t sold too well as the first one had.
“Maybe this one will sell well,” said Daisy.
“I don’t have any ideas yet,” he replied again, looking away from her.
“Maybe you could go through your old journals and an idea will come to you.”
“I don’t know…I guess I could try that.”
He went into the bedroom then and opened the closet door. On the top shelf, in the back left corner sat over ten years of tablets. He knew that most of them were ideas for his first two novels, but perhaps something was inside that he could turn into a third novel. Besides, he didn’t think anyone would want to read about the war, even if he wanted to write about that.
John-Boy carried the piles of tablets and set them on his desk. He flipped through them and discovered they were out of order. Feeling restless, he decided to number each of the tablets. He opened the desk drawer and hunted for a pen. He found his fountain pen that Ike had given him for his high school graduation. He tried to write the number one on the first tablet, but no ink came out. He rummaged through the drawer and tried to find an ink bottle. He shut the drawer and glanced over at the top of the dresser. He remembered sometimes leaving a bottle of ink up there—out of Melissa’s reach. Nothing. He sighed, got up and went into the living room. He told Daisy he was heading to the drugstore to get ink for his fountain pen.
On the way home, he drank in every sight he could. This was the first time he had been out since he came home. He knew the world was different now, but his street seemed to be the same. He knew the mountain would be that way too. In some ways, he knew change could not be stopped, but in another way, he wanted things to go back to the way they were. While walking past the houses and apartment buildings, he was transported to December 1941 when he and Daisy walked around their neighborhood, only to come home to the news about Pearl Harbor. He hoped that when he opened that door this time, no bad news was waiting.
“What took you so long?” asked Daisy.
“Oh, nothing. I just went for a walk.”
Without saying another word, he went
into the bedroom and shut the door. For the next two hours, he leafed through
and numbered the tablets. Memories flooded back and a few tears. He was glad
Daisy wasn’t in the room. He got up from where he had been sitting and
went to his dresser. He opened the top drawer to retrieve a handkerchief. He
found one—with a full packs of Lucky Strike cigarettes. Feeling
deeper into the pile, he found three more packs. He took out the cigarettes
and set them on the bed.
John-Boy did not remember Daisy ever smoking. Unless she recently started to. No, that wasn’t it. He did not smell any remnants of cigarette smoke anywhere in the apartment.
He went through the drawer one more time to see if there were any more packs of cigarettes. Instead, John-Boy found an envelope. When he opened it, he discovered that it was a bill from the hospital. It was stamped paid in full. He looked at the bill and it was for Daisy Walton and under the diagnosis it read--miscarriage
John-Boy wondered why Daisy would hold on to this; it had been so long ago. He then looked again and saw the date. This was in December of last year. John-Boy was shocked and not sure he understood what was happening. The date she was treated for her miscarriage he was still overseas
He felt his blood pressure rise. John-Boy had a rage inside of him because he knew the evidence was all there. Daisy was fooling around on him, unfaithful. He then felt his stomach start to twist. He thought back to the day he found the tie in the closet. No, it couldn’t be. He wanted to remain calm, but he could still feel the irritation creeping up. He didn’t want to believe it. He slowly got up and grabbed the packs and the bill. He held them in both hands.
John-Boy stood there for a moment and watched Daisy, whose back was to him, to place a batch of cookies in the oven. At that moment, when she turned around, he slammed the cigarette packs on the table. He saw Daisy jump.
“When did you start smoking?” he asked.
“Where did you find those?”
John-Boy saw her face turn white.
“It doesn’t matter. I found them. When did you start? Not that I mind. Everyone does these days, even women.”
“John—I, those aren’t mine. I was holding them for a friend of mine. You know how hard it was to get cigarettes.”
“Oh, believe me, I know. Who’s this friend? Did he leave his blue tie behind too, or were you just holding that for him as well?”
He watched as she slowly sat down at the table.
“You tell me right now, what the hell went on while I wasn’t here!” He waved the hospital bill at her and slammed it on the table, next to the cigarettes. A look of shock came over her.
He listened and tried to remain calm. He remembered writing to her numerous times how he didn’t want her to get a job. But she was telling him that she did get a job. It was at the dance hall where she was working when he first came to New York. Only this time, she danced with soldiers who were leaving for war—Ten Cents a Dance! Soon, Daisy told him, that she had no idea nothing was going to happen. But it did. While Melissa was away at school, Daisy’s new friend came over. She explained that Millie would watch Melissa when she went to work in the evenings. She told him how boring it got to be staying at home day in and day out. She then went on and said that she had miscarried again with the man’s baby, which had been last December.
John-Boy could not contain himself anymore. Last December he was in a foxhole…trying to stay alive. Something pulled him toward Daisy. His arms clasped her shoulders as he yanked her out of the chair. Daisy gasped.
“John, no!” She was crying now.
He shook and shouted at her. Each word he spoke he shook her harder. “How could you! Why would you do that to me! Again! You’re nothing but a—“
“John-Boy!” His grandfather’s voice boomed.
In that instant, John-Boy stopped shaking Daisy as he heard his grandfather tell him that if he ever felt like throttling a woman he should go chop wood. He let go of Daisy and walked into the bedroom. He could hear her sobbing in the hallway. The door slammed so loudly, he was sure the building shook. He went over to the radio and turned in on as loud as it could go.
Kay Kyser and His Orchestra drowned out the shouting and cursing John-Boy gave to that man. He used words he never even thought of using before. Many of the soldiers talked that way. But he made sure he would not catch on to that. He also knew that these young men would not bring language like that home to their mothers, wives or sisters. And here he was using every word he had heard over there.
He pushed everything off of the dresser. He heard glass shatter and saw that a light bulb had broke. He wrenched open the drawer and tore out everything inside. He was here! Using this drawer and in our bed! His mind screamed. John-Boy felt sick to his stomach. The music on the radio was nauseating now. He lifted the radio and pulled the cord out of the wall, then hurled it across the room. He watched it smash into small pieces. The room was quiet now. He sat down on the floor and leaned against the bed. He could not lay there anymore. It didn’t belong to him. He felt so disgusted at what went on behind his back. And he had made love to her when he got back! I should’ve known! So, that’s who taught her! His mind screamed, remembering how forward Daisy had been that night.
John-Boy went over to the hope chest at the end of the bed and pulled out a blanket. It was one that his mother had made for him years ago. He wrapped himself around it and wept. When he calmed down, he listened to the silence around him. He didn’t hear Daisy anymore. He never wanted to see her again. He slowly got up and opened the door. Daisy was gone. Probably at Millie’s, he thought.
He knew what he had to do. He picked up the phone and dialed home. After three rings, he heard Elizabeth’s voice. He couldn’t get any words out because his throat had closed up.
“Is anyone there? Hello?” He heard Elizabeth say on the other end.
“Elizabeth!” he croaked.
“Who is this?”
He could feel the tears forming again. No, not now!
“John-Boy! Are you all right? You sound sick.”
“Can you please get Daddy for me?”
“John-Boy what’s wrong? I can tell something’s wrong.”
Go get Daddy.”
He heard the phone go clunk as she set the receiver down. He could hear her calling “Daddy! John-Boy’s on the phone!” He heard John-Curtis singing in the background, trying to sing along with the piano that was most likely played by Jason. He heard Jason tell him the show was over that he needed to get to work.
“Son! How are you? It’s so good to hear from you!” His father said after he came on the line.
“John-Boy, are you alright?”
“I—the war—I can’t—I need, please, Daddy.”
John-Boy was sobbing now. He didn’t want his father to hear him so he hung up. John-Boy went back into the bedroom and found his security blanket. In the distance, he heard the phone ring and ring. He did not get up to answer it. Instead, he cried himself to sleep. He hadn’t cried like that since he was child. I tried to be brave, I did. I tried so hard. Those words tumbled over and over in his mind.
Someone was knocking loudly on the door. For a moment, John-Boy wondered if Daisy would answer the door. When he opened his eyes, the ransacked room and Mama’s blanket replayed yesterday’s events. He got up and went to see who was at the door. He’d tell them to go away if they were selling candy or magazines.
When he opened the door, John-Boy was almost sure his heart had stopped for a minute. No one could miss the rugged, worn, yet strong frame of John Walton.
“I’m here, son. It’s going to be okay.”
Copyright © 2011 by Kristi N. Zanker
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Copyright © 2011 by Kristi N. Zanker
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