Ep.13 - The Nurse

  Original Airdate: December 11, 1975
Writer: Kathleen Hite
Director: Alf Kjellin


  Mary Ellen has been accepted to write the entrance exams to become a nurse. She learns that she has more to learn before starting school and gets a first hand experience that helps her to mature and prepare her for her chosen career.


  "The joy and pain of growing up came to each of us in different ways, but no one endured the experience alone. And so it was when Mary Ellen tried her first searching steps away from her childhood. It was a time of joy and pain for her and for the rest of us as well."



Mary-Ellen recieves an acceptance letter from the School of Nursing in Charlottesville. She goes up the mountain with John-Boy on Blue the mule to deliver a box of supplies to Nurse Nora Taylor for Ike. They find her helping the Basham family. Essie the mother is quite poor in health and needs constant help. They give her the supplies and Mary-Ellen tells her that she will be writing the entrance exam. Nurse Nora welcomes the news as their region could use more nurses to help the community.

Later, Mary-Ellen looks around her home for the old suitcase to use while she is away. Grandma and Olivia have it hidden and are freshening it up for her. The family surprises Mary-Ellen with gifts and presents to celebrate her first step into the world to study as a nurse. Her Daddy has made a wooden trunk, Grandma and Mama recover the suitcase, Grandpa has made ice-cream to go with a homemade cake, Jason gives her pencils and John-Boy gives her a book about Florence Nightingale.

John-Boy drives Mary-Ellen into Charlottesville to write her entrance exams. The large facilty seems strange to her at first but she makes quick friends with another nervous girl who is waiting to write the exams as well. Mary-Ellem becomes fustrated when she discovers that she hasn't learned or knew to prepare for math and science questions on the exam. She is told to go learn those subjects and return when she is ready to become a nurse. John-Boy helps her as best as he can but suggest that she ask Nurse Nora for the help she needs.

Mary-Ellen makes a deal with Nurse Nora to help around the Basham homestead in exchange for help studying the math and science she needs to pass the entrance exams. Mary-Ellen works hard on all fronts to do her best. She sits and cares for Essie as best as she can but in the end the sickly woman passes away. The experience helps Mary-Ellen to mature and gain perspective about her chosen career.


  "By summer's end Mary Ellen had been accepted at the School of Nursing of the University of Virginia. All of us watched her grow through those difficult weeks as she gathered the knowledge and maturity she needed. At the end of it, Mary Ellen knew that nursing was to be her life, and as long as she pursued it, it was rewarding to her and to everyone who knew her as a nurse and loved her as a person."

Additional Cast:


Barbara Eda-Young (Nora Taylor), Charlotte Moore (Nurse Jenny Stevens), Jon Lormer (Lait Basham), Tamar Cooper (Essie Basham), Ann D'Andrea (Nurse Collins), Elizabeth Roger (Nurse Smith), Stephanie Silver (Joyce), Shannon Terhune (Violet Basham), Kim Durso (Sue Basham)

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