Today, I watched the first episode of the Waltons with Corabeth. Like yesterday, this was purely an accident: I put a tape in, and that’s what happened to be on. I’ve just had a knack lately for randomly picking special Waltons episodes!
Corabeth is a cousin to the Waltons, and she’s rather cultured and uppity. She knows the classics, and she speaks fluent French. I think she’s somewhat conservative, since she once tried to ban sex education from the local school, and this was sex ed that said our bodies were made by God (so she’s to the right of that). She can also be bigoted to people of other races and cultures, plus she’s a gossip. Was Mrs. Oleson on Little House on the Prairie based on her? I don’t know. Maybe. The thing is that Corabeth is not exactly a villain in the story, as Mrs. Oleson often is. She’s just Corabeth!
Corabeth is married to Ike Godsey, who owns the local grocery store. She has a lot of discontent about where she’s at. She had dreams of being an actress and a ballerina, of going to France, of meeting a tall, handsome suitor. But there she is–stuck in a grocery store. And she doesn’t have much in common with Ike, since she loves poetry, and he’s not exactly the most cultured guy on the planet. On one episode, she drank a lot because she desired her fantasy world.
But, believe it or not, she loves Ike, and Ike loves her. She informally calls Ike “Mr. Godsey” rather than by his first name, but she’s always affectionate when she does so. And there are many touching episodes about their love for each other. On one, Ike tells Corabeth that he wishes she were more like his mother, or women in the old days period–the types who served their men and baked them bread. Corabeth then quits the store and resolves to become the perfect homemaker. But Ike misses Corabeth’s company, not to mention her sound business practices. And so he learns to love Corabeth as Corabeth.
On another one, Corabeth encounters someone who had a crush on her in high school. He was shy back then, but now he’s a dashing, handsome soldier who loves art, literature, and poetry–especially Corabeth’s poetry. He tries to start a fling with her, and, indeed, she is tempted. But she decides to be faithful to Mr. Godsey. When her would-be suitor writes her a good-bye love note, Ike stumbles upon it by chance. He then asks Corabeth if they could go on a picnic, where he could hear her good poetry. He doesn’t tell her he’s read the other guys’ note, but he resolves to be a better husband–one who takes a greater interest in Corabeth.
Today, I got to see how it all started. I’m not sure if Corabeth was originally intended to be a socialite wannabe. On her very first episode, Ike quotes George Bernard Shaw, and she doesn’t know who that is. I find that hard to believe, considering how well-read she is!
And their marriage has a rocky beginning. Ike’s smitten with her, even though he later has second thoughts and thinks he may actually like his life as a bachelor. And Corabeth accepts his proposal of marriage, even though she mourns doing so, and is reluctant to settle down at Walton’s Mountain. They get married, but neither one does so wholeheartedly. But, over the course of the series, they come to enjoy each other’s company. And old John-boy says at the end that they have their good times and their bad times.