Ep.21 - The Scholar

  Original Airdate: February 22, 1973
Writer: John McGreevey
Director: Lee Philips


  "When I was growing up on Walton's Mountain the great Depression touched our lives in many ways. Jobs were scarce, new clothes were rare, food was simple and mostly home grown. What we had we shared. My father taught us by his quiet practise that sharing was our first duty and happiest privilege. And on one occasion I had the opportunity to share an unforgettable experience with a lady who was trying to hide a secret."


  Elizabeth is having difficulty with her school work and John-Boy helps her to make sense of letters and spelling. Verdie Grant arrives at the school to drop off a dress she has made for Miss Hunter and overhears and shows a keen interest in what John-Boy is teaching. Verdie wishes to go to her daughter Sarah's graduation but is too embarassed for people to know that she can't read or write. When John-Boy figures this out Verdie asks him to teach her but also makes him promise to not let anyone else know her secret.

  Elizabeth sees what the two are doing and innocently reports it to Miss Hunter. This embarrasses Verdie and she lashes out at John-Boy believing that he had broken her trust. John-Boy learns the truth and tries to make amends but Verdie is too proud to admit that she was wrong. When she receives a letter from her daughter stating that she only wants her mother by her side at her graduation Verdie finds the will to ask John-Boy for forgiveness and to continue with the lessons. John-Boy sees her off as she catches the bus to New York for her daughter's graduation.

Secondary Story:

  Erin doesn't like being the middle child. She comes down with tonsillitis and the family asks Verdie to watch over Erin for a few days while Olivia and Grandma are away. Henry, a boy from school brings Erin some flowers but then runs off when Erin's brothers make smoochy faces. Erin likes all the attention she has been getting and eve though her strength has returned she continue to play sick in order to continue receiving the special attention. Her plan back fires when her mother catches on and prevents her from going to a church party with Henry Wagman. She says that Erin can't have things both ways, sick when it suits her and fit as a fiddle when it doesn't.


  "How to get attention without playing sick, how to keep from getting hung up on the barbed wire of old prejudices and grievances. As we fumbled towards answers to these and a thousand other questions we were lucky to have the teasing of our brothers and sisters to keep us from taking ourselves too seriously, and, the unfailing love of our mother and father to reassure and sustain us."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • Writer John McGreevey won the Emmy Award for Best Writer of a Drama Series for a Single Program for this episode.
  • This is Verdie Grant's first appearance on the show.
  • Verdie lives in the same house used by the Mann family in "The Ceremony" (s1-ep9)

Additional Cast:


Lynn Hamilton (Verdie Grant), Mariclaire Costello (Miss Hunter), John Crawford (Sheriff Bridges), Royce Wallace (Alice), Kerry Mac Lane (Henry Wagman)

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