Ep.12 - The Milestone

  Original Airdate: December 8, 1977
Writer: Kathleen Hite
Director: Philip Leacock


  Olivia can't understand why she feels the way she does and visits her Aunt Kate for answers. Jim-Bob forges his Mother's signature to bid on a contract building parts for planes.


  "There is a special niche in memory where a child places his parents, a place in time where they are never younger, never older, a time when they are changeless. For me that memory is of many years ago, and no matter what came after, they are forever young."


Written by Janet Lange

Jason plays the piano while Mama is doing the dishes. She asks Jason to stop and then snaps at him for continuing, breaking a glass in the process. Mama runs out of the room as Mary Ellen walks in asking what happened.

Mama runs to the back of the barn and sits down by the smokehouse. John walks up and Olivia tells him that she does not want him to sit with her that she wants to be alone.

Jim-Bob pulls up at the house with papers for a new contract. Mary Ellen cleans up the kitchen and tells Jim-Bob to wait on asking Mama anything. Jim Bob runs up stairs looking for his Mama just as she comes and thanks Mary Ellen forcleaning up the broken glass that “flew out of her hand”.

Church bells ring as the Ben is getting ready for service. Jim-Bob tries to get out of going to church by faking being sick. Mama makes him copy ten bible verses and heads off to church.

The girls talk and giggle on the way to church while Mama walks quietly beside them. Elizabeth starts talking about a party that her Mama said she could have but Mama gets upset and walks off refusing to admit that she said anything about the party. Mama tells Grandpa and the kids to go on to church without her. She walks right past Ike and Cora Beth without saying a word, and then runs off into the trees crying.

John Curtis and Daddy “talk” at the kitchen table. Jim-Bob comes in and tries to sell his Daddy on applying for a job in Rockfish building airplane parts for the defense department that pays $20/week. Daddy agrees to back Jim-Bob IF his Mama agrees to sign the consent papers. Jim-Bob roots around for something to eat and then they realize that no one has started cooking dinner. Grandpa and the kids come in from church but Mama is not with them. Daddy says she is not in the house but he will go look for her.

Daddy goes looking for Mama and finds her by the river. She can’t explains to him what is going on, that she "feels homesick" and wants to go back to being a child with her mother and father “even though they have been gone for a long time”. She feels like running away or like she needs to catch up or find something she's lost but doesn’t understand because she doesn’t know WHAT she lost.

The family sits down to eat while Mama takes a rest. She comes down to the table after Jason prays and “all the work is done”.

Mama sits in her room sewing a dress for Elizabeth when Mary Ellen comes in. Mama talks about the party like she always knew the plan then Mama starts crying with pain in her hands and says she can’t seem to stop.

Mama sits in the attic going through her old family photo album. Elizabeth comes up and she looks at a picture of her Mama with her Aunt Kate in front of their childhood home in Alberene. Mama talks about how strong and courageous her mother was and what Kate was like. There is a picture of Mama as a baby and Elizabeth says she wants to be just like her Mama when she gets older. Mama jumps up in pain dropping the album and then proceeds to leave the room.

Mama is sitting at the desk trying to write a letter when Jim-Bob comes in wanting her signature on his papers. Jim-Bob argues with her when she won’t sign the papers and storms out.

Daddy and Mary Ellen load lumber in the truck. Mama comes up. Daddy tries to talk to her but she brushes him off and continues on her way to the store.

At the store, Ike is looking through the mail for Flossie Brimmer's lost ring and gets upset by the fact that gum is in the bottom of the mail bag. Corabeth and Ike leave to clean the gum off his hands. Mama goes to leave without mailing her letters but she then attempts to make a call before running out of the store. Ike and Cora Beth come back in the room and discover that Erin is still on the line at the telephone switchboard and they realize that her mom must have changed her mind about making a phone call.

Grandpa and Daddy work on the new house on the mountain that Daddy is determined to finish for Olivia.

Mama packs her clothes to go see Aunt Kate and she can’t explain why she needs to get away. Daddy gets upset that she won’t / can’t talk about it.

Jim-Bob applies for defense job without Mama’s signature the man is very adamant that BOTH parents must sign.

Mama arrives at Aunt Kate’s who at first doesn’t recognize her but then they both end up crying when they reconnect. Olivia has to pretend that she has run away from home again to trigger Aunt Kate's memory. They sit down to talk in the living room. Mama doesn’t understand why she is so upset or even why she is there. Aunt Kate says Olivia can rest for now and the next day they will go see the Doctor Caldwell. Olivia doesn't believe that she'll be able to rest but she is suprised to discover that Kate has slipped Sherry into her tea cup to help her relax. Olivia grudgenly drinks her "tea".

Jim-Bob sits at his Daddy's work desk trying to copy his Mama’s signature. Jason comes in and realizes what Jim-Bob is up to. The boys find a letter she threw away that she was writing to John-Boy which states her feelings of needing "something to hold on to or I'm going to fly off the world”.

Mama and Aunt Kate go to Olivia’s childhood house and have a picnic under the old oak tree. She starts swinging and remembering the past. Mama is so afraid of bad news but agrees to see the doctor.

Daddy loads his truck and finally signs Jim-Bob’s papers, Jim-Bob tries to fake Olivia’s signature when the Reverend comes by needing a ride. Jim-Bob confesses that he signed the papers and they discuss what he did as being wrong.

Daddy continues to work on the house on the mountain. Mama comes out of the doctor’s office.

Jason asks Erin to attempt a call to Mama at Aunt Kate’s and tells Erin what was on the letter to John-Boy. No one is at Aunt Kate’s house to accept the call. Mama and Kate then come in talking about what the doctor said. He didn't have the right answers for Olivia but Kate puts in together when she remebers all the symptons that both she and Olivia have shared; the shortness of breath, the interior shakes and quivers, the headaches that split your skull, the hands that won't work, the need to run away, the sudden rises in temperature and forgetfullness. Mama thinks she is too young for “this time of life” BUT Kate says apparantly not. Kate makes dinner for them and they continue to talk about what’s going on with Olivia. Kate says that the Olivia she knows doesn't write often enough but she knows all about her children and how proud Olivia is of them but her niece hasn't mentioned her children once during her visit. Now that she nows what her condition is she should return to her family and make them the prioirity again and accept her fate of growing older.

Grandpa, Mary Ellen and Elizabeth talk on the porch and watch a storm that is coming in. Jim-Bob comes out and says something cryptic about maybe the storm being his fault. Daddy watches the storm rolling in as he goes for cover in the tent on the mountain.

Mama tries to call Ike’s but the operator reveals that all the lines are down “clear to Westham”. Jason tries to drive to Alberene in the storm but gets stopped by a downed tree.

After the storm daddy sees all the damage done to the frame of the house he was trying to build for Olivia.

Jason shows up at Aunt Kate’s house. Mama is happy to see him and agrees it’s time to come home!!

Mary Ellen is finishing the hem on the dress for Elizabeth's party. Jim-Bob comes in with the Reverend and is forced to copy (and read some) sermons for him.

Daddy arrives back at the house upset about the storm's damage to his dream house and sees that Mama has come home!!!

"My mother's concern for her lost youth didn't last very long, and though she must have known many times when she thought she'd 'fly off the world', she never concerned her family with them again. And today her children are hard put to maintain the pace of that vital, interested woman for very long. To us, she'll be forever young".


  "My mother's concern for her lost youth didn't last very long, and though she must have known many times when she thought she'd 'fly off the world', she never concerned her family with them again. And today her children are hard put to maintain the pace of that vital, interested woman for very long. To us, she'll be forever young."

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • Olivia grew up in Alberene, Virginia.
  • Her aunt (Olivia's mother's younger sister) is Kate Grover Daly.

Additional Cast:



Guest Star: Louise Latham (Aunt Kate) with: Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Ronnie Claire Edwards (Corabeth Godsey), Peter Fox (Rev. Buchanan), Jim Henaghan (Mr. Clinton)

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