Ep.14 - The Unthinkable

  Original Airdate: Jaunary 3, 1980
Writer: Dan Ullman
Director: Ralph Waite


  Jason's bunkmate at Camp Rockfish deals with the death of his Grandfather in a Nazi Execution camp. Elizabeth struggles with being teased at school for getting straight A's.


  "The battlefields of World War Two were thousands of miles from Walton's Mountain, but those times brought about many changes for my family on the home front. My brother Jason was training recruits at nearby Camp Rockfish and like all servicemen forming the close relationships that became so important during the war. For the youngest members of our household the changes were not too drastic, there were still chores to do, school to attend and the joys or sorrows that went with such events as bringing home Report Cards."



After school, Rose asks Elizabeth to take the coffee pot out to her Daddy. She catches Jefferey sneaking upstairs without bringing his report card to her. She scolds him when she sees the report. Jefferey makes fun of Elizabeth, calling her the teacher’s pet which upsets her and causes her to lass out at him before she leaves the kitchen. Outside Daddy looks at Jim-Bob’s report card and is impressed by his marks.

Jason suggests to Ted Lapinsky, his bunk mate at Camp Rockfish, to try out for one of the new drill instructor positions. Ted says it will never happen because Sergeant Barnes is antisemitic and doesn’t like Jews.

John reads the newspaper comics to John Curtis. Mary Ellen and Erin return home from work. They are concerned about Elizabeth who is moping outside on the front porch. Her Daddy goes outside to offer his help. She’s got nothing but straight A’s. She says it sucks because all the girls say she’s the teacher’s pet and the boys call her “Big Brain”. He says they are all just jealous but she feels that is has all ruined her life.

At Camp Rockfish, Lapinsky’s troop finishes their practice mission first and the men are rewarded with passes. Jason recommends that Ted be nominated for one of the DI positions but see’s that Ted was right about Barnes. Jason goes above his head to the Commanding Officer. Barnes and Jason give Ted the official news that he is up for consideration but Barnes doesn’t hold back on his feelings about Lapinsky. Ted lashes out at Barnes and Jason has to hold him back. After the commotion is over Jason learns that Ted has just received a letter informing him that his Grandfather has passed. Jason invites him to join his family for the weekend. Ted appreciates the offer and joins him.

Back home Jason gets Ted to help him with the chores around the farm including milking the goat and feeding the chickens and pigs. Later they go to Ike’s and Ted asks if he has any bagels. He hasn’t has one in so long. Corabeth implies that his name sounds foreign and Ted retorts that it’s from all the way over in Chicago. Ted says that Ike’s store reminds him of his Dad’s Delicatessen. He describes all all the ingredients are laid out and how he misses it. Later they go fishing and then that evening they dance the Hora as Jason plays “Hava Nagila” on the piano. Ted breaks down have way through the song and tells the family that the letter he received is from a relative in Europe and it’s in Yiddish but he understands enough that his Grandfather had been captured after the Warsaw uprising and taken to a German Extermination Camp where he was killed by poison gas. The family stands in disbelief of what they just heard.

Later that evening after everyone else has gone to bed Ted and Jason sit in front of the fireplace in the Living Room. They remember their Grandpa’s and sing a song together. Upstairs Rose talks to John about what Ted told them earlier in the evening. John calls his Senator early the next morning who reports that there is no foundation to what Ted read. John talks to him out of the porch and says that during times of war there can be a lot of propaganda that goes around to scare the enemy. Changing the topic Ted asks why John doesn’t go to church with the rest of his family. He replies that his church is the top of the mountain. He tells Ted that it is named after his great-great grandfather and asks if he’d like to go up there. Ted is excited especially when they plan to make a picnic for the family to enjoy when they get back from church.

Elizabeth hides after church when some school girls start flirting with Jim-Bob. They ask why he wasn’t at the dance and then they inquire about Elizabeth and say they’d rather have dates for the dance then straight A’s.

Elizabeth says she won’t be joining the family for the picnic. Ted asks if he can talk to her and finds her in the tree house. He says that he had good grades too and can relate to her. He used to get chased, beat up and had rocks thrown at him but his grandfather would yell insults at the boys when he saw that. Ted asks what her grandpa would say about her getting straight A’s. She replies “that if the Good Lord gave you a mind he meant for you to use it.” Elizabeth agrees to join Ted on the picnic.

The family stops by the river to eat. John ask for the Lord’s blessing. Later the family cleans Grandpa’s grave site. Ted tells Jason that he has decided to go to Europe to fight instead of trying for the Drill Instructor position. He then asks John to say a Jewish prayer for both of the grandfathers.


  "We were tragically mistaken. It was only near the end of the war that we learned that there had indeed been extermination camps - Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau and Freblinka, where unspeakable and unthinkable horrors had been committed, while on Walton's Mountain a young man prayed for his grandfather."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • Actress Erica Hunton, who plays Elizabeth's tormentor Lucille, played the character of Holly in the series premiere "The Foundling"(s1-ep-01)
  • Don Matheson previously played Sergeant Barnes in "The Home Front" (s8-ep1)
  • This episode was directed by Ralph Waite.

Additional Cast:



Guest Stars: Todd Susman (Ted Lapinsky), Melvin F. Allen (Sergeant Barnes), with: Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Ronnie Claire Edwards (Corabeth), Leslie Winston (Cindy), Peggy Rea (Rose Burton), Keith Mitchell (Jeffrey), Martha Nix (Serena), Michael and Marshall Reed (John Curtis), Erica Hunton (Lucille), Mary Ann Oedy (Flo)

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