A Sentiment

God knew what He was doing when He sent a gentle breeze and brought a lovely butterfly to set my heart at ease. The happiness of your friendship and the gentleness of your words have touched my life in special ways and now I feel assured. Thank you for your loyalty and for reading everyday. I only hope you find things to make a happy day.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Patricia Neal...the Christmas Cactus and Me

One of my favorite TV shows of all time was the Waltons. The first show was at Christmas time, it was called The Homecoming. It starred my favorite...Patricia Neal. I always seem to have liked movie stars who were not the glamorous gals of Hollywood. Earl Hamner narrated the TV show.This was part of an interview with James Hamner the brother of Earl.The first thing a visitor senses about James Hamner is his relaxed easy-going manner. He speaks in that distinctive Virginia mountain drawl that fans admire in his brother Earl's narration on The Walton's.He was being interviewed and as they sat in the living room of the family homeplace he spoke about the The Waltons, and the Hamner family.He says..."The TV show had a great impact on the lives of the Hamner family. My mother and I were particuarly affected because we stayed in the community. She lived in this house her whole life and I have lived in Schuyler all but a brief time. Some Saturday mornings we would look out the windows and the yard would be full of fans and well wishers. People would just walk up the front walk, ring the doorbell, and visit on the front porch. It was as if they felt part of our family. In fact, the doorbell wore out from so much use."
The white clapboard Hamner family home is located in the center of Schuyler Virginia. "Visitors sometimes said they were disappointed that the house didn't look exactly like the TV set, but by the time they left they always said it felt just right."
On the front porch was a huge Christmas cactus. "Mother brought it here and it has been in the family for over forty years. It was always in the girls' bedroom over winter and, in the summer, it was put outside. Probably over fifty plants have been started from cuttings. Jon Walmsley (Jason) and Eric Scott (Ben) both started plants from this one. My brother Earl used the cactus as part of the story line in The Homecoming. Our mother would put the cactus in the basement to sleep for the Fall, and then bring it up at Christmas time to bloom. I can remember this as if it was yesterday...a beautiful cactus being held by Patricia Neal. She had just recovered from a stroke and it was a performance to remember. I have a tape of that program...but I would like to get it in DVD. I brought one of my Christmas cactus up from the basement just today. It is not as spectacular as the one on the show, but then..I am not as spectacular as Patricia Neal.



Racquel said...

Oh I used to love watching that show. I haven't even seen reruns of it lately.

Judy said...

Hi Balisha, I read all about your dinner with your neighbors that sounded so good. Turkey for 40 cents a lb. is really a bargain, too. I loved the Waltons and my mother would not miss it for anything. She also loved Little House on the Prairie. She said it reminded her of me when my kids were young. lol.

Nell Jean said...

Like this post!

I still have the 'Homecoming' excerpt by Earl Hamner that appeared in Good Housekeeping oh, so many years ago.

There was also the movie, I will think of the name later, in which Henry Fonda played the father and Helen Hayes' son, James-whatever his name is, was Clay-boy. Do I date myself, or what? Poor recall, but remember too far long ago.

Balisha said...

It was wholesome entertainment in those days. We loved Little House too. I had all the books. I think that I missed the movie that you are refering to, Nell Jean.I have the book...The Homecoming and I just read the jacket.It says that Henry Fonda starred in Spencer's Mountain and Maureen O'Hara was his leading lady. I wish that I could see this one.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

I recall the credit Patricia gave her husband for helping her through that difficult time when she had her stroke! Is my memory right on that? I loved the Waltons but I must not have seen the episode you mention.

garden girl said...

I loved, loved, loved the Waltons Balisha - never missed an episode, and watched the reruns over and over. I loved The Homecoming, and Spencer's Mountain too. Spencer's Mountain has been shown on TV many times over the years. Every so often I search my computer's media center hoping to find it to record - no luck so far. Maybe I'll have to look for the DVD.

Haven't read this interview before, and didn't know about the Christmas cactus. I'm not big on houseplants, but have always had a Christmas cactus. I killed my last one leaving it outdoors during a rainy period, and have a baby started from a cutting now.

Christmas cactus, like jade plants, are often get handed down through generations. I have a relative that has one of each, grown by her great-grandparents. They just get better with age it seems.