Many a late night finds me tuned into reruns of the television series “The Waltons,” after my husband retires for the day. As I settle in to finish—or begin—some household chore, writing assignment, or other task on my uncompleted to-do list, I automatically click 186 on the TV remote. As the depression-era family drama plays in the background, I listen with one ear to the saga of lives unfolding in simpler times. Within moments of the beginning of each episode, I can identify the story line and most often remember the conclusion because I’ve watched each episode countless times. When a network airs five episodes each night, seven days a week, and a person (me) has acquired the habit of staying up very late, you can imagine how quickly said person will cycle through the entirety of a series—even a long-running one such as “The Waltons.”
What draws me to this particular television drama, apart from my night-owl tendencies? Very high on the list is that eldest son, John-Boy, is a writer. I admire his dedication to penning thoughts and happenings and feelings nightly in his journal. And in longhand on loose sheets of paper no less. In spite of his intense longing to write being misunderstood and even dismissed, he forges on with incredible determination. Way to go, John-Boy!
And of course, the fact that the series is based on a real family, on folks who actually lived in the place and time of the story’s setting, holds great appeal. I love, love, love true stories. I do cringe a bit when reminded that their name wasn’t actually Walton (rather Hamner), and they did not actually live in Walton’s Mountain, Virginia (rather Schulyer, Virginia). Those bits of information do attempt to interfere with my total immersion into the family saga. But I’ve powered through the sting enough to allow myself to dig into the real lives of the family who inspired the series. I may or may not mentally substitute the name Walton for Hamner when researching this Virginia family.
All of this talk about John-Boy and his family has renewed my interest in visiting the Walton’s Mountain Museum and other attractions dedicated to this beloved family. I wonder if John-Boy’s commitment to writing can be caught by those who glimpse his oh-so-familiar bedroom and the desk where he faithfully put to paper the family’s adventures? Anyone want to join me on a road trip??
What about you? What writerly TV show character inspired you and why?
P.S. Can you spot who is missing from the family photo above? BONUS points if you know WHY this person is missing. Comment below!
Beth’s combined experiences teaching the high school Sunday School class, substitute teaching in the public school, and connecting with the teenage staff at the fast-food joint where she claimed a “back booth office” helped inspire her young adult “Choices Matter” fiction series. She's a "cheerleader" for saving sex for marriage and for "renewed waiting" because it's never too late to make wiser choices. Her “Waiting Matters … Because YOU Matter” blog helps people of all ages navigate the choppy waters of saving sex for marriage while her “Slices of Real Life” posts find GOD in the day-to-day moments of real life.
As a genetic genealogy enthusiast, she writes and speaks about her experiences as a "foundling" who located her birth parents. Her journey to find and connect with her biological family is chronicled in the blog series “A Doorstep Baby’s Search for Answers.” All of her writing endeavors can be found on her website, https://bethsteury.com.