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.

 

21.

The News

 

That next evening, after dinner, John-Boy walked over to Jenny’s. He felt more at ease going to see her, now that he had told everyone in his family that she was here. He also reminded them that there was nothing special between he and Jenny; they were only friends. He went on to say he had some business to take care of in New York and explained that it was completely over between him and Daisy. He said his goodbye’s to everyone before heading to Jenny’s.

John-Boy saw her smile at him as she opened the door. Then, it quickly faded.

“What’s wrong?” asked Jenny.

“I have to go back to New York tomorrow morning. I don’t know if I’ll be back.”

She fell into him and wrapped her arms around his neck. He in turn, hugged her back. When they pulled apart, both went over to the sofa and sat down. He told her that his family would help her out with anything she needed. She kept shaking her head, saying, “No, you can’t go.”

“Jenny, we may feel this way now, but we can’t act upon our emotions at a time like this. It wouldn’t be right; you and I both know that. I wish I could snap my fingers and everything bad would go away, but it isn’t like that.”

“I didn’t know it would be like this either.”

“Jenny, you’re a wonderful person and a great friend to me and my family. I would like to keep it that way for now, just until things settle down for us. We really don’t know each other now. So much has happened.”

“I know….our lives are heading in different directions. I have to get back to Richmond and you have to head back to New York.”

The two sat there and talked for three hours, of memories and thoughts, and their feelings for another. John-Boy kept reminding her that it can’t happen. It was a different time now. Before he left, the two embraced for one last time.

John-Boy hated to leave her. He could still hear her sobbing as he walked from her house and wanted to run back and….no, he couldn’t. Someone couldn’t fall in love only in a few days? Could they? No, it just wasn’t possible. Whirlwind romances and marriages, along with the war were gone, according to John-Boy. As he walked back to the Walton house for the last time, he thought about when he was seventeen and in love with Jenny Pendleton. He was just a kid then. It wasn’t real love, even though it felt like it. And it can’t be now. With the way things were at that moment, he didn’t want to hurt anyone else.

*~*~*

John-Boy quickly found another apartment in his old building. While Daisy was out during the day, he went in and moved his things. He didn’t have a lot, just some clothes, and his typewriter. He didn’t care about anything else. Daisy could have it. As he was carrying boxes out to the hallway, Millie saw him and two chatted for a bit. She knew what was going on, but wished he wasn’t leaving. She asked if he had any furniture and he said he did. But she could see right through him. Following her into her apartment, Millie gave John-Boy a cot, with a mattress, plus a small nightstand. It was all she had right now. He thanked her profusely and she went on to say that if he needed anything, he should come to see her.

“You and I are still friends, let us not forget that. I saw what she did to you, but I couldn’t say anything….” Her voice trailed off and she then gave him a kiss on the cheek. He watched as Millie went back into her apartment. He then turned and went downstairs.

As promised, John-Boy wrote home to his family and gave them his new address. He began writing for the Associated Press immediately. He was happy to receive a check in the mail from the sales of both of his books. It wasn’t much, but enough to buy groceries for a week.

In two months, John-Boy had saved up enough money for a used love seat, second-hand radio and a card table. He was glad to have more furniture, but that sunken feeling remained. At night, he was back in the Ardennes trying to find a medic to help those men. Like in the previous nightmares, he never could find one. He would wake up drenched in sweat and would have to remove his pajamas and take a bath at the three in the morning. It was almost a year, since the Battle of the Bulge had begun and here he was still in it. John-Boy could not figure it out. He wrote for Stars and Stripes, he didn’t suffer like these brave men did. He couldn’t understand why these nightmares were still happening. At least I’m alone, he thought. He didn’t have to explain anything to anyone.

The divorce process trudged along and John-Boy wondered if there would be an end in sight. He wanted to say goodbye to Melissa, but Daisy wouldn’t let him near her. Once, he saw the three of them at the park and wondered if Melissa remembered him at all. John-Boy left the park not wanted them to spot him. Day in and day out, John-Boy wrote article after article. At night, he would be back in the thick of battle.

About two weeks after the New Year, John-Boy was told by the lawyer that his divorce with Daisy was final. Not long after that, he found out from Millie that Daisy had married Steve and moved out to Levittown. At first, he was elated when he heard the news, and then relieved. Finally, this horrible mess was all over. He began to think about home again and his future.

One day at work, he called home and asked his brother Jason to send him a phone book. When his brother asked why at the strange favor, John-Boy told him it was very important, that he needed one for some research. And he also wondered if Jason could send a few of newspapers of the surrounding areas and larger cities. Jason asked again what this was all about and John-Boy just said he would try to come home. If he did, Jason would know the answer. He knew his brother better than that though, for most likely when Jason hung up the phone, he would figure out what was really going on.

About a week later, a large box arrived for John-Boy and he got to work. He knew his phone bill would be sky high with all of the long distance calls, but he believed it would be worth it.

Glancing at the Want Ads in the local newspapers from Virginia, he circled interesting ads that would be able to suit his talents and called about the jobs available. John-Boy was lucky that a few interviews were over the phone. He would explain that he would move back to Virginia if he were to get the job on a newspaper. It didn’t matter where the newspaper office was located, just as long as it was near his family. After moving back to New York for these few months, he knew there was nothing left for him here. The melancholic feeling lingered and everywhere he went he was reminded of Daisy. He also knew that it would be difficult to make a complete move back to Virginia if he were to get a job, but deep down he knew what was right.

Two weeks after a few phone interviews, John-Boy received a call from a newspaper in Richmond. The supervisor informed him that they needed a writer for a new column entitled Reflections. He remembered he had sent them samples of his articles he wrote for the Associated Press, as he had to other newspaper offices that had granted him an interview. An article about the bombing of Pearl Harbor was included with his resume, along with another about how the world had suddenly changed. This column was thought of because the world was changing faster than ever before, and at times, people wanted to reflect on things that had faded with time and were long gone. Even though the job had a decrease in pay, it still interested John-Boy.

It was ironic that this new position enabled John-Boy to relocate to Richmond. He remembered Jenny telling him about the house her and her husband had there, only now it was on the real estate market. However, he knew he was moving for the job. Jenny was still in his mind, but he was also aware that she was on Waltons Mountain and could remain there for some time. He wasn’t going to think about when or if she was coming back to Richmond.

After only twenty-four hours of seriously thinking everything over, he informed his future supervisor that he would be delighted to work for their mid-sized paper and write the Reflections column. A schedule was set up and John-Boy was informed that he could start toward the end of February, to get to know the office, other staff, and layout of this newspaper. Once he was settled, the March issue would include Reflections by John Walton Jr.

*~*~*

In the next few weeks, things slowly fell into place as John-Boy sold the sparse furniture in his apartment. He was thankful that the landlord had allowed a month-to-month lease. It seemed as though everyone was seeking a place to live these days. Empty apartments were becoming scarcer by the month as the housing shortage grew. This wasn’t only in New York, it was across the nation.

Similar neighborhood developments like Levittown were being built quickly to stifle the shortage. Pre-fab housing it was called as John-Boy would read about the new houses that looked exactly alike. He felt glad he didn’t have to live in one of those cookie-cutter houses for he preferred the style and architecture of the past. Besides, he heard snippets of conversations in the street mocking those houses being so alike that someone may head home from work only to discover they had entered the wrong house or even slept in someone else’s bed. Laughter would boisterously erupt from the men when they’d quip about sleeping with another woman—all because the houses looked exactly the same.

John-Boy noticed another change when walking down the streets in New York, or now as he was settled in Richmond, that many young women were expecting and some had two or more children in tow. Everyone seemed to have the same idea after the war, have a family and find a new place to live. And John-Boy fell into step with everything. It seemed to be the perfect time to welcome some of these changes.

But at night, the war would come flooding back to him. It was the same nightmare over and over again. John-Boy felt so guilty because he hadn’t done with the other men he wrote about did. Finally, one night, while the rest of the boarding house he temporarily lived in seemed to be sleeping, he got up, found an empty tablet in the desk drawer and labeled it—The War—in large block lettering.

Every night after that before turning in, he wrote everything that he could remember from Pearl Harbor on. The pages of his journal began to fill about his experiences writing for Stars and Stripes, the soldiers he met, and the battles that had raged around him. But when he came to the Ardennes, he could not write any further. It went on like that for a week and then, one evening, he retrieved the tablet from the drawer once again and began to write.

With fear and tension rising inside him, John-Boy slowly began to tell the story that haunted him in the darkened hours. It was the worst he ever saw or experienced during the entire war—and there had been plenty of carnage around him. It happened one day, shortly after the New Year 1945. To the Germans, it didn’t matter of it were Christmas or New Years, the war did not stop for any holidays. People still fought and died.

It was a surprise attack; a lot of them were at this time. John-Boy had been in a vulnerable place, while everyone scrambled to their foxholes to avoid the falling shells. He felt like a sitting duck. Then, like the in the dream, he heard the men’s voices nearby. While crawling on the ground through the snow toward their foxhole, they continued to shout at him, guiding him to safety. Unlike the dream, John-Boy never reached the foxhole. A loud explosion had occurred and when he looked up, the men that had been calling to him were gone. It was as if they were never there. Nothing was left of them.

He gently put down his fountain pen. The morning sun had peeked through the curtain in the room. The alarm clock jangled precisely at seven. In a daze, John-Boy got up to turn it off. He had written the entire night.

Copyright © 2011 by Kristi N. Zanker

 

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Copyright © 2014 by Kristi N. Zanker

 

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