Goodnight Mr. Godsey

If you don’t know that Ike and Corabeth ran the general store.  And you don’t know that Grandpa loves the ‘recipe’.  And you don’t know that Elizabeth wants to stay little and practices wrapping her arms around her head to keep it little so she can stay little.  If you don’t imagine the fresh cut smell of the sawmill and feel the sweat as it gathered in the men’s eyes.   If you don’t know the value of an iced cold soda pop, orange of course.

You don’t know the goodness of the Waltons.

Sure the introduction of television in to our lives has changed the direction of our lives and not always for the better.

But there are some very good things that came from that old tube, back when it was a tube.

Families gathered around in the evening to watch the Walton’s eat meals around a table together.  The family prepared the meal.  They set the table.  They prayed together and they ate together.

The kids did homework.

The kids did chores.

The parents disciplined.  The parents guided.

They worked hard.  And often did without.

But they didn’t go unloved.  And they were never alone against the world.

Outside of their family they were inside a community.   Neighbors stepped in to help.  People knew one another.  They learned about differences together.  They celebrated together and mourned together.

They visited with the older generation.

They tutored the younger generation.

Snapping and shelling peas was important work because it meant you had something to eat.

Wearing the hand me down clothes meant you had clothes to wear.

Grandma wasn’t thrown away when she had a stroke.

The loss of Grandpa was felt by every single family member.

Lying your head down to sleep and yelling out “goodnight” and having someone respond to your call meant you were home.   And someone loved you.

It may have been a tv show.  But it was a show that brought a vision of living good, living well and family living to your life.

It was enjoyable because it was real.

In our world today of real life drama they have totally missed the mark.

No one wants that kind of drama or veneer of glitter or shiny fraud of  a life style.

The Waltons and their community were comfort, familiar and normal.   I would sit down and watch the Waltons with my children and my grandchildren. In an emergency I would leave my child with Ike at the general store while I went running off to help one of the Baldwin sisters, even if it made Grandma kind of uncomfortable.

Anyway…I just wanted to say goodnight to Mr. Godsey.

You were greatly appreciated.

And I’m sorry if you didn’t know them.

50 thoughts on “Goodnight Mr. Godsey

  1. I loved the Waltons. My youngest (11) and I sit and watch the box sets of The little house on the Prairie and she loves it. What is a bigger surprise is the arrival of our older girls into the room, (just to hang out), when it happens to be on. Makes me question the supposed sophistication of our modern kids,


  2. I apologize in advance… Never in my life have I watched the Waltons or Little House on the Prairie for that matter. While I understand the gist of your message, those shows just weren’t real life…

    Well, neither is Star Trek you might say. Well, it is so unreal that you cannot mistake it as a “shiny fraud of a lifestyle” (loved your use of words here!)… but when I grew up watching “Father Knows Best”, it truly painted a “life-like” fake copy of real life in my conscious.

    Not hammering your analogy! Your message is good. I just can’t say such a “real life” should paint a false expectation of real life on impressionable folks…


    • No apologies needed Koji. 🙂 I know that there is no show that represents or touches every one the same way. We certainly aren’t cookie cutter made are we? I do know that this show is not what everyone would enjoy. But I sure did. 🙂

      Actually both “The Waltons” and “Little House on the Prairie” were modeled after real life families and events. I am sure creative license was taken. But in both of these cases, the shows didn’t seem far fetched to me. They were familiar to what I knew: mom, dad, work, not always having it easy, dinner, siblings, childhood strife. It just ran close to what I loved. It didn’t hurt that LHOTP was my favorite series and the shows so often did replicate the books and I loved Half Pint! 🙂

      It didn’t so much paint an expectation as it did a reflection of what was familiar to me. That’s probably why I enjoyed it so much.


      • Uhm, the Waltons was like a reality show near my Pappy’s house/farm. There was no electricity in the house and there was a celebration when my Gramma allowed him to put a bathroom in the basement, next to the root cellar. There was still a general store that had chocolate bars for a nickel and that lovely orange soda in glass twisted bottles for fifteen cents. We rolled watermelons down the hill into the spring to chill. When the old hand me arounds got too threadbare to patch, we made them into quilts and braided rugs. and so on and so forth


        • I have been in a “true” general store a time or two. They were fabulous. I remember the root beer barrel candies you told them you wanted a quarters worth and that’s when they filled the little brown bag. I never got to enjoy quilt making or rugs. But yes, this world of the Waltons seemed so real to me.


    • Ack …. admits, I too never saw an episode of the Waltons …(though I have seen portions of the show…clips really)….

      I have seen Little House On the Prairie …*smiles*

      And the family dynamics , and small community family feel … whether it be real or not…I know it makes me feel warm … and if tis not that way now, it is a way I can yearn.

      Nevertheless … ‘neither is Star Trek you might say …” That is just crazy talk Koji-san. *smirkles*


  3. Colleen, when the “Waltons” was on TV I didn’t pay it much mind. It wasn’t the show I wanted to watch, and it was just a bit to hookie for me. But from time to time I would sit and watch, and it always amazed me that the show mirrored my own standards of conduct, my own ethics, my own sense of what was right or wrong, and it resembled life on my grandfather’s farm. Thank you for stirring those positive memories. Take care, Bill


  4. Thank you Bill, and you are welcome. I get that it seemed ‘hookie’ for some. 🙂 I’m sure if watched the entire season right now there may be a moment or two that seemed hookie. But it never felt that way when I was so young and watching it. And I think that what you enjoyed about it, is what left a lasting impression on me. The standards of conduct, ethics, sense of right and wrong…. it made me picture life on a family farm that I never got to see in full swing. We had the land and the house but the family had long been gone. I could imagine them living like that. 🙂 Have a great day Bill!


  5. I love The Walton’s and LHOTP (great acronym CM)! I still watch both of them especially when I am working out on the machines at the gym or when I am off of work. I have read and re-read all of the LIW books, they are my go to pick me up books!!! That reminds me of Little Women which I love too! The stories of each life are so precious and during the good and bad times there is someone to love you.

    Great reflections and nice thoughts to brighten my day:)


    • I still remember how they “baked” potatoes in the fire and one blew up!

      Always having someone to love you, there is more value in that….

      I hope your day is super fabulous then Mary. 🙂 ❤


  6. I was watching The Waltons when I read this. Little House is up next! It would be wonderful to see shows like this again. And if anyone cynical is reading this, I am under 30!


  7. Ah yes, The Waltons; I remember them fondly. Good old family values, home cooking and common sense. Those were the days! No, I’m not referring to the era depicted on screen, but rather, the simpler times we lived through, when the show originally aired. We’d gather around the boob tube and watch it as a family. Heck, we even sat together at meal times, and discussed the day’s events.
    These days? We’re all so spread out, each of us rushing to keep pace with our hectic schedules. We communicate via facebook and twitter, eat on the fly, and our TV programming is all about shock value and ratings rather thansubstance.
    Good night, John Boy, we miss you!


    • Great point. It was from a time in my life when family ate meals together. Kids did dishes and homework and by golly there was only one tv in the house. ANd you sat around it as a family to watch it. But only to relax and wind down. It certainly didn’t take the place of living. 🙂 Thank you Cliff.


  8. I knew from the first sentence you were talking about The Waltons. There was nothing like an hour in front of the tv with your family. We watched with Grandma and Grandpa Jahr and it was pure heaven for me. I also loved Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.


  9. Some tv shows are like music/songs. If I hear certain songs now I can easily attribute them to sunny days, or car rides with family. I remember watching this show with family, being young, and wanting so badly for us to be living on Walton’s mountain!


  10. Great post Colleen! I wonder if more shows were still on television like this today if people would start applying these kind of values back into their life. I know how huge of an impact these kind of shows made on me as a kid and I like to think that they kind of shaped how I conduct things with my own family now. I see so many people who are very unconnected with their families and community and I wonder if they just knew the power in these simple things could bring them much more joy.


    • I think there are many families who would enjoy this type of programming, because they live this type of life style. And yes, I agree, so many people seem so….lost. Maybe the shows were kind of shaped after the idea that many of us lived like that? A reflection of us. I hate to think much of today’s programming is an indication of who we are.


  11. Watching The Waltons now…always a favorite. Sad they do not make shows like that anymore. Actors, writers and directors today can learn a lot from the old movies and tv shows. I always liked Ike and Corabeth.


  12. You’re talking very old times here indeed, Colleen, eating together, disciplining etc. It was nice to reminisce!!

    I used to watch The Waltons. I achingly wanted to be in a family like that.


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