David's Reformed Church Congregation

David's Reformed Church Congregation
Congregation of David's Reformed Church, Montgomery Co, Ohio, Circa, 1900

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Martha Corinne Walton


Okay. So Martha Corinne Walton is not a member of my family, nor is she a real person, but she is somebody I feel very sentimental about today.  She is also a character that I would consider a "Fearless Female", so this post follows along with both of the prompts we have been given this month.   Martha Corinne Walton, sister in law of Zebulon "Grandpa" Walton on one of my favorite television series, "The Waltons" plays a significant role in what has to be one of the most memorable and well written episodes of the show's entire run.  She is brilliantly portrayed by Beulah Bondi, who also played Jimmy Stewart's mother (Ma Bailey) in "It's a Wonderful Life". The episode originally aired on 2 December, 1976 and was written by Jack Miller.  I don't think I had a real appreciation for this particular episode until recently.  I bought the entire fifth season dvd set and started watching from the beginning.   This particular show revolves around the visit of Martha Corinne. She is quite elderly and has been living alone in a place far away from her mountain home.  Her arrival at first brings excitement as she presents each family member with special gifts she has brought for them.  In the days to come, however, she begins to intrude on their daily activites with her own opinions and stubbornness.  Finally, tired of putting up with her, Olivia gently lets her know that the time for her visit has come to an end.  John Boy is asked to take her home, but on the way she asks if he will take her to her old home on top of the mountain. While she is there, she remembers what it was like being there as a young bride with her husband as they built their home piece by piece with their own hands.  She tells John Boy about his pioneer history and she says what has become one of my favorite quotes, "Roots. That's a good word for it. Everybody's got a family tree and just to know how those roots grew...well, that gives you a sense of who you are".  
It soon becomes obvious to John Boy that his great aunt is not well and she finally has to admit that she is dying.  When he realizes that she had come to be with the family so she would not be alone when she died, he demands that she come home with him. She makes him promise not to tell the family about her condition, but after he is pressed by Olivia, he must tell the truth, making Martha Corinne very angry.  I won't give away the entire show in case you haven't seen it, but this particular episode deeply touches my heart.  It's commuicates the importance of family roots and history in a way that few shows do, and today, it made me feel awfully sentimental.

6 comments:

  1. Nice Lori, I don't remember seeing this episode of the Waltons and now may have to buy it so that I can see the ending! Great review!

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  2. Great episode. It just aired again o
    today, 3/7/11. I've seen this episode before and it may be the best written one of all. I took a great liking to Martha and like the first time I saw it, it brought tears to my eyes. I just couldn't understand why the family thought she was interfering at first...I would've enjoyed her company. What a remarkable and memorable woman.

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  3. Wonderful episode. "The Pony Cart" one of my favorite "Walton" episodes. INSP Channel is airing "The Waltons" weeknights at 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. I have been tracing my "roots" since I was about 14 and some of that involves visiting cemeteries. Another Martha Corinne quote that is very powerful to me is "Neglected graves are a shameful thing." She has been one of my favorite TV characters for a long time. I told my children about the show and specifically, her character and just recently my daughter, Maria Corinne, had the opportunity to watch "The Pony Cart". Her name is no coincidence. Blessings! MP

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  4. was checking online for a reference to Martha Corrine,after watching that episode this evening. I've never tired of The Waltons,but,not having seen all the episodes,have been blown away by Martha Corrine,now that I've caught up! What a wonderful tribute that your daughter can trace her name to such a wonderful "person"...I almost felt like she was real x

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  5. I loved watching the Waltons as a child .. and to this day watch the re-runs every day. I never had a real loving family growing up and for this i love the show very much, I would have love to have a family like this one.. to this day i am very saddened by the ending of the shw i wish it could of went on forever.. I hope they never stop playing the re-runs..for me its the best show of all time and to which i hold very dearly.

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  6. Beulah Bondi was a fine actress. No one could have played Martha Corinne Tyler Walton better. I will never forget her face when she was picking daisies and Henry came to get her. Such happiness.

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