Ep.17 - The Anniversary

  Original Airdate: February 2, 1978
Writers: Rod Peterson and Claire Whitaker
Director: Walter Alzman


  John and Olivia celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. Curt and Mary Ellen start to stray from each other during their separation.


  "Between two people in a good marriage there develops a kind of silent communication. Each knows what to expect of the other, when to offer strength, where to step lightly. It is this kind of predictability that makes the occasional surprise shine all the brighter in memory. As my parents' Silver Anniversary approached, my father was to reveal a side of his nature that years of hard work and sacrifice had kept secret. And in doing so, he made it an anniversary that none of us would ever forget."


Written by Janet Lange

Daddy works on Curt’s hospital van while Mama looks on from the porch. Elizabeth runs up to Grandpa and Daddy while they are talking about a new job. She then runs into the house slamming the friend door with excitement. Mama cautions that she will wake John Curtis. Elizabeth thinks that is a good thing since she will be watching him while Mary Ellen goes to town. Erin walks in and Mama reminds her to order the surprise for Daddy. Erin goes out to the car to wait for Mary Ellen. Mary Ellen comes down with John Curtis and telling Elizabeth the instructions.

Erin honks the horn on the van and Daddy asks her to order him some 8 penny nails.

Back inside Mama tells Mary Ellen she will be nearby if Elizabeth needs anything, Elizabeth says that Mama and Daddy are going to the Godsey’s for dinner and that she is taking care of dinner and the baby.

Mama and Daddy go to the Godsey’s for dinner. Cora Beth is as prim and proper as ever. Olivia reveals that their 25th anniversary is coming up. Cora Beth tries to sell them on a fancier celebration, but Olivia says that they will probably just have dinner at home with the family. Cora Beth and Olivia step into the kitchen and John reveals to Ike that he does have something special planned.

At the dinner table the boys pick on Elizabeth’s overcooked macaroni and cheese and talk about how they are going to plan a party for the anniversary.

Mama and Daddy walk home from Ike’s talking about their anniversary and the dream house on the mountain.

Mary Ellen runs into David Spencer at the cafeteria hospital. They have not seen each other since the night she walked out on their wedding rehearsal dinner. Mary Ellen has just returned to nursing now that John Curtis can be left with others. They discuss whether Curt would be jealous if he knew that David and his wife were working together again. Mary Ellen says that Curt and her trust each other.

Curt walks up to a water fountain and eyes a nurse at the military hospital where he works.

Daddy sneaks into the attic to prepare his surprise for Olivia, Jim-Bob comes in and sees what his Daddy is up to. Jim-Bob has been hoarding light bulbs for his surprise.

Daddy takes the phonograph and hides it on the truck. Grandpa gets upset that John won’t show him what’s on the truck and is not being honest about what he is going to do.

Grandpa works on the porch as the kids meet in the barn for a meeting about the surprise party. Olivia comes out he tries to whistle with the nails in his mouth. Olivia comes in the barn wondering what was going on. The kids scatter quickly with different excuses that mama doesn’t believe at all.

David walks in on Mary Ellen who is reading “Gone With the Wind” during her break at the hospital. They talk and he flirts a little and then gives her a photograph her took of her as a present.

Mama, Daddy and Elizabeth sit on the porch. Elizabeth asks her Daddy to tell the story about how they got married. John Curtis cries and Elizabeth goes to tend to him. Daddy and Mama cuddle and talk on the porch.

The telephone company arrives as the house. Grandpa and Ben wonder what’s going on. Jim-Bob and Elizabeth answer the door and say that no one ordered a phone but then Mama comes to the door revealing that she ordered the phone for Daddy as his anniversary present.

The family waits in the living room when Daddy comes in. Jason runs to the mill and calls Erin on the phone extension and tells her to ring the house in a minute after he has time to get back inside. The phone rings and daddy looks around in surprise, he goes to the desk and answers it. He is surprised by Olivia’s gift. He reveals that on Saturday he will take Mama in to the photography shop to get their picture taken.

Mama scrubs Daddy’s back and they are interrupted by Grandpa who says that there is an important phone call for John. Daddy comes down dripping wet in a house coat to discover that it is just Cora Beth, grandpa thinks it funny that he called Daddy down for nothing.

Grandpa and Daddy are in the mill. John has ordered more white paint and Grandpa wants to know why.

Mary Ellen and Mama talk in her room. Mary Ellen reveals that she has been talking to David Spencer at the hospital and that they have dinner together often. Then they talk about Mary Ellen’s feelings.

While the family gathers for dinner Jim-Bob is on the phone again talking to Patsy Brimmer. Daddy is okay with people using the phone but to remember it’s for business and NOT during the meal times. The phone rings and Mama finally answers it shocked that its John-Boy!! The whole family runs to the phone to say hi.

Mary Ellen and David wait for the elevator at the hospital, David tries to ask Mary Ellen for a date to a concert but Mary Ellen is busy with the party. He tries to kiss her and she says they can’t see each other alone anymore.

The girls bring Mama breakfast in bed. They tell her that Daddy left early to do something on the mountain saying that he was acting like it’s just any old day.

Mama and daddy leave to get their picture taken in Charlottesville. Afterwards Daddy takes Mama on a hike up the mountain to a gazebo his has made for her in place of the dream house that he has been unable to finish. He puts on some music on Grandma’s old phonograph and they dance.

The family set the table for the party and prepare for Mama and Daddy to arrive home. Jason comes in but discovers that he has the wrong cake!

John and Olivia sit in the gazebo. They have champagne and decide to wait until the stars come out before returning home.

The candles the family had lit begin to burn out as they wait for Mama and Daddy to come back. They are disappointed that they did not show up for their own surprise party. They hear a vehicle pull up but are surprised when it’s Curt that comes through the door.

Mary Ellen and Curt go out to the porch so they can talk in private. They both reveal that they have had feelings for someone else but stopped before it got too far. The family comes out to the porch and Grandpa says he thinks Daddy is up to something and tells the family that they are going to the mountain to join the party. Jim-Bob up on the roof shows off the “25” light bulb display he made. The family loves it but it draws so much power that it blows the main fuse.

Mama and Daddy are still dancing in the gazebo when Grandpa and the kids arrive and the family celebrates. Grandpa takes the kids back down the mountain so mama and daddy can have a night on the mountain to themselves.


  "The pretty gazebo is gone now, burned to the ground in a forest fire that swept the mountain. But for all of us the memories remain of that night when our father and mother after twenty five years danced and were newly-weds again."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • John takes Grandma's phonograph player to Buck Vernon for repairs.
  • The sign outside of the mill states 'Waltons & Sons Lumberyard — Established 1935'.

Additional Cast:



Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Ronnie Claire Edwards (Corabeth Godsey), Tom Bower (Curt Willard), Christopher Woods (David Spencer), John Perryman (Telephone Serviceman)

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