Ep.15 - The Awakening

  Original Airdate: January 3, 1974
Writer: Joanna Lee
Director: Lee Philips



  "Many times when I have tripped across those events in one's life called milestones, I have thought about how they so often catch us unawares. There was, for instance, that unforgettable Spring many years ago when in the same week Grandma had to face growing old, Mary Ellen had to face the feelings of a woman."



Grandma is showing signs of poor hearing but doesn't want to admit that she is having difficulty. After dinner they listen to the President Roosevelt give his speech on The New Deal. Grandma doesn't agree with the President's ideas calling him a crazy man. John says that she will be turning 68 in a few days and now qualifies to collect Old Age Pension” Grandma doesn't feel old on the inside but she doesn't recognize herself in the mirror anymore.


Mary Ellen stops at Drucilla's Pond to cool her feet. Kevin Sturges, a med student at the University of Virginia sees her and is taken by her beauty. He asks her to drop her hair to her shoulders and they share a passionate kiss. He has come to the pond to do some fishing but he ends up catching Mary Ellen's heart instead. He is 20 and he asks if she is 16 or 17 she says he guessed close enough. She says her house is the first one up the road on the left about a mile away.

John-Boy asks his father if he can use the garden shed as an office. Mary Ellen confides with her Mama about meeting Kevin. She says it was just like a movie and asks if this what it's like to be in love. She admits that she didn't admit to being 14. When she asks about growing up Olivia tells that her that becoming a woman isn't a sentence it's a beginning of new possibilities, love, marriage, children ... if that is what she wants. After school she plays it cool when G.W. Haines shows her some attention. She becomes frustrated by the other children in her bedroom and asks her Mama if she can move into the garden shed. John-Boy has a meltdown when he is asked to be understanding of Mary Ellen's needs. When Grandma comes ot to see what the commotion is about she faints and falls from the back porch step. Dr. Vance feels that she is having a inner ear problem and needs to go to Charlottesville to have it assessed. When Grandpa can't persuade her to go he storms off in a fit. He meets up with John-Boy and to calm down he tells him about a girl he met when he was young that people called Sissy. She was a pretty young thing, smart as a whip and could hold her own with any man and at 18 she wanted to go to Richmond and open a dress shop. Grandpa says that he feels sorry for Sissy because her dreams never amounted to anything. When John-Boy asked what happened to her Grandpa replies that he married her.

Later when Grandma feels that her place is threatened she says that she cleared the land that their house stands on and she bore 3 children and she never missed a day of work. When Mary Ellen learns that Grandma told her college aged admirer that she is still a school child she storms off embarrassed. John-Boy gives her the yellow roses he intended for Grandma's birthday. He also lets her have the Garden shed. G.W. stops by to see Mary Ellen and become jealous by the flowers she has received from “another man”. Never having had a girlfriend before he doesn't know what to think. Grandpa finally convinces Esther to go see the doctor in Richmond. It is confirmed that she has a ear infection that can me fixed with some medicine. The family gives her her presents. The children had intended to give Grandma an ear trumpet that they got from Vern Rutley for 35 cents. When they realize that it is no longer appropriate Mary Ellen gives Grandma the flowers that were originally intended for her. Grandpa gives “Sissy” a thimble and says that he didn't forget about her dreams as a young woman. Mary Ellen decides to give the shed back to John-Boy after feeling lonely sleeping in it after the first night.


  "Mary Ellen's new found maturity was with her one day then gone the next; in time it was to come to stay. Today she lives in Richmond, Virginia, the wife of a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and the mother of two sons. We see each other when we can, and our talk is apt to return to those days during the Depression which these many years later still seem filled with wonder"

Episode Notes and Interesting Facts:

  • Grandpa mentions that John's best friend Charlie Snead has stopped by outside to chat. Although he was depicted as a significant secondary character in The Homecoming he only makes one appearance in the series in "The Hunt" (s1-ep4)
  • Grandma and Grandpa had 3 children and they cleared the land where their house now stands.

Additional Cast:


Guest Stars: James Carroll Jordan (Kevin Sturgis) with: David Doremus (G.W. Haines), Victor Izay (Dr. Vance), Joe Conley (Ike Godsey)

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