Ep.15 - The Parting

  Original Airdate: January 18, 1979
Writer: Kathleen Hite
Director: Harry Harris



John has been away from Olivia alot on work and they are both weary. He decicdes to take her away on his next trip and they go to Virginia Beach for a rest. They visit a doctor and are suprised to learn that Olivia has developed tuberculosis and needs to go to away to a sanitnarium.

Jim-Bob tries to learn the accordian.

Intro scene:


Olivia pays a visit to the doctor’s office. Later she is coaxed by John and Aunt kate to leave her home for some reason.


  "My parents were used to being together, my father's work kept him close to home when we were a young family so there were always times in the day to share a smile or a touch or a special look between them. Now those times were nearly gone. Work took my father away from home more often and for longer periods of time. The separations were hard on them both."



Olivia walks out to the new mill to see John but he is away meeting his customer Matt Sarver. She talks to Ben who notices that she looks tired.

Elizabeth is learning how to bake from Grandma. But she finds it difficult when her Grandma and mama don’t use a measuring cup. Jim-Bob comes down and complains about his girlfriend Tonya. He goes over to Zuleika’s boarding house to help clean out her attic.

That evening Olivia waits for John to come home on the porch. She hears a car pull up but is disappointed when it is only Jim-Bob returning from Zuleika’s. He has brought home an accordion that she gave him and he hopes to learn.

Olivia finally retires to her room but finds that she is in a fair bit of discomfort. Elizabeth comes in and tells her mama about the recipes she has learned so far and the ones she still wants to learn.

John finally comes home early the next morning and pours himself a coffee. Olivia rises to great him. He can’t think of a single thing he wanted to tell her and he climbs the stairs for a few hours sleep.

John comes down from his sleep and pours another coffee. Jason greats him and says they are not like other couples, when they are separated they are no good. He suggests that Daddy take her on his next business trip. After he is done his meeting he finds her in a dress shop. She comes out of the dressing room in a stunning modern blue dress. He suggest that they go to Virginia Beach for a few days and asks the sales lady if she has any casual wear for the beach.

Jim-Bob bothers Grandma and Elizabeth with his accordion while they practise baking. Grandma intervenes their fight and send them both away out of the kitchen.

Olivia and John have dinner in their room. She is still not feeling her best. She asks how far Alberene is. She wants John to visit Dr. Caldwell. He says he will go if she does.

At home Elizabeth has made dinner. Jason sees the empty chairs where their Mama and Daddy would sit and he and Mary Ellen take their spots.

John waits outside the Doctor’s office for Olivia. He is uncomfortable waiting for her. He makes small talk with Aunt Kate. When Olivia finally comes out the Doctor mentions that he has to do some tests but recommends that a visit to Virginia Beach for some rest is the best thing he can prescribe. Aunt Kate cast a suspicious eye at the doctor as they leave and she can see the concern on his face.

John and Olivia relax on the beach. She collects seashells and he does some fishing. He then chases after her when she makes fun of him. She loses her breath and drops to her knees. She plays it off like she just needs rest and tells John to continue with his fishing.

Ike and Corabeth arrive with food for the family. Elizabeth says that her stew smells like the one she is making. Corabeth is surprised that she had also received the recipe for Cousin Sue Ellen’s Savoury Stew. Outside they hear Jim-Bob practising the accordion. Jason goes in to see him and offers to help him learn a simple song so he can serenade his girlfriend in Westham.

Elizabeth is disappointed that her sponge cake doesn’t taste the same as Grandma’s. Grandma reluctantly decides to reveal that her secret ingredient is the Baldwin ladies “recipe”. Elizabeth is shocked but won’t include that in her recipe book.

John has obviously caught a fish and cooks it on the beach. Olivia says that she never wants to forget their time there together.

Olivia unpacks her clothes with Mary Ellen’s help. He daughter thinks she still looks tired and has lost weight. Aunt Kate arrives with upsetting news. Olivia has the early signs of Tuberculosis and needs proper rest and medicine. She needs to stay in a sanitarium and their is one near Aunt Kate’s house where she can stay. Olivia runs off to take in the news. Her children who have been preparing a picnic wonder what the problem is and their Daddy comes out to reveal the news. Olivia runs up to a view of the mountains and John follows after her. She agrees that the sooner she leaves, the sooner she can come back home.

The family has gathered outside on the picnic table for their meal with Aunt Kate. They all congratulate Elizabeth on her cooking skills and say that her stew is even better than Corabeth’s. Elizabeth’s tries to tell a joke to cheer everyone up but forgets how it goes. Jim-Bob comes out with his accordion and plays “Beautiful Dreamer” for her and says he won’t play it for anyone else.

The time finally comes for Mama to leave. She tries to make is painless by telling the kids to just think she is off to buy groceries and it is just like any other day but one by one they embrace her with tears. Outside John is much stronger and says that he will visit her often. Olivia drives away with Aunt Kate as raindrops fall from the sky.


  "It was a sad day, the first of many long lonely days for our father and for all the family. But eventually the time did pass and my mother was cured of her frightening illness. Not surprisingly she endured it all with great courage, and whenever one of us would falter and feel sorry for ourselves we could always recall Mama's voice saying - Now, none of that, I won't have it!"

Episode Notes & Interesting Facts:

  • This is the final episode this season that Michael Learned will regularly appear as Olivia Walton. Miss Learned will reprise her role beginning with "The Home Front" (s8-ep1)
  • This episode was filmed prior to the previous episode so that is wouldn't be so sad for the cast and crew.
  • The name of Matt Sarver's company is Matt Sarver Construction Company.
  • Aunt Kate is the younger sister of Olivia's mother and first appeared in "The Milestone" (s6-ep12). In that episode actress Louise Latham plays her. Neva Patterson is the second actress to play Aunt Kate.
  • Dr. Caldwell is mentioned in "The Milestone", but never appeared.

Additional Cast:



Guest Stars: Neva Patterson (Aunt Kate) with: Joe Conley (Ike Godsey), Ronnie Claire Edwards (Corabeth Godsey), Booth Colman (Dr. Caldwell), Barbara Tarbuck (Saleslady), Ellis Rabb (The Window Washer), Michael and Marshall Reed (John Curtis) Special guest: Ellen Corby (Grandma)

Promotional Still




Read about Michael's departure from the show in this People weekly article.


Cast and crew threw a party for a leaky Learned on the last day of her seven years as Mama of the Waltons. "We are a family," she says. "We all understand each other and care about each other."

Waltons Behind the Scenes - Michael Learned's last day

Above: Cast and crew pause for a photo during a send-off party for actress Michael Learned.


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