Clara

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This article is about the episode. For the character, see Clara Portland.
#365: “Clara”
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Proverbs 17:17
17A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

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“Clara” is episode #365 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Phil Lollar, and originally aired on November 9, 1996.

Summary

Jack Allen tells Eugene about a shocking incident from his past. Whit gets angry and says that he never wants to see Jack again.

Plot

Jack is at the Odyssey airport, picking up his one-way ticket to Chicago. Eugene walks up, looking for his flight-delayed bags. Eugene wants to know what Jack is doing there. The clerk behind the counter says that Jack is leaving Odyssey. Eugene asks where Jack is going and why he is leaving, but Jack doesn’t want to talk about it. He tries to walk away.

Fortunately, Eugene isn’t easily dissuaded. He follows Jack, pleading with him to explain what is happening. Eugene remarks that Jack should at least stay until he talks with Whit! But Whit is the last person Jack wants to talk to. The last time they were together, Whit said he never wanted to see Jack again. Eugene can’t believe it, and Jack tells his tale.

It happened right after Jenny, Whit’s wife, died. Jack takes Whit to Nebraska, where he is running an orphanage. Whit doesn’t really want to be there, until he meets Clara, a beautiful, hazel-eyed, angel-faced six-year-old. The two of them immediately hit it off and soon become inseparable. Jack is pleased to see Whit smiling and laughing again and is also pleased that Clara is finally opening up to someone.

Whit falls in love with Clara. He is so taken with her, in fact, that he wants to adopt her. But Jack hasn’t told Whit an important piece of information about Clara: She’s already slated for adoption by another couple, and was even before Whit got there. Whit is extremely angry with Jack over this. Clara doesn’t want to go with the couple. This causes an emotional and tearful separation for Whit and Clara. She leaves with her new parents...and Whit says he never wants to see Jack again.

Back to the present. Jack says he’s always intended to contact Whit and try to seek his forgiveness, but something always got in the way. Now, he’s lost his nerve. He’s just about to leave when Whit calls his name. Jason had told Whit that Jack was at the airport. Whit produces a letter from Clara. In it, she thanks both Whit and Jack for finding her some wonderful parents and giving her a great start in life. Whit also apologizes for what he said to Jack and asks him to stay. There is a pause, and Jack agrees to remain in Odyssey. The two old friends hug, united once again.

An airport employee comes up and sheepishly informs Eugene that his luggage was mis-labeled again and is now en route to Hong Kong.

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you think what Jack did was wrong?
    • Do you think Whit was wrong to be angry?
    • Explain your answers.
  2. Clara thanked Whit and Jack for giving her a great start in life.
    • What did she mean by that?
  3. Why is forgiveness so important?

Cast

Heard in episode

Role Voice Actor
Airport Attendant Corey Burton
Airport P.A. Announcer Julie Heron
Annabella Lee Rachel Hoffman
Clara Portland Aria Curzon
Eugene Meltsner Will Ryan
Jack Allen Alan Young
John Whittaker Paul Herlinger
Peggy Portland Julie Heron
Peter Portland Dave Arnold

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Jenny Whittaker Jack Allen
Lazlo Farnsworth John Whittaker


Notes

Parents: This is an emotional show about love, loss, and adoption. It may be too mature for younger listeners.

Trivia
  • Young Clara was played in this episode by Aria Curzon in her AIO debut. Curzon would later play recurring child character Mandy Straussberg.
  • This episode was Paul Herlinger's personal favorite.
    • Herlinger, Dick Beals and Walker Edmiston would later reenact the episode for a group of attendees at a radio-lovers convention at the Seattle Center in the spring of 2006 with the help of a few local child actors and audio engineers.
  • In this episode, Jack reveals that he ran an orphanage in Nebraska before moving to Odyssey.
  • In this episode, it is stated that Whit went to Nebraska after Jenny died, but before he bought Whit's End. This would've happened during the month that the city council put off the vote on the recreation center because of Jenny's death. (See #19: “Recollections”.)
  • In this episode Jack says that he originally came to apologize to Whit. However, in #280: “Gone...”, Jack says that Whit wrote him a letter asking him to come to visit Odyssey. Actually, Jack never explicitly says that he took the initiative to come. He viewed Whit's request to visit him as wanting to make up and decided to accept it.
  • This episode continues where the previous episode, #364: “Home, Sweet Home”, immediately left off.
Allusions

Quotes

Eugene Meltsner: I can't believe my auricular cavities!


Clara Portland: Whenever you're in the middle of a dream, and you think it's going to be bad, you say real loud, "Go away bad dream, BOO!" and the bad dream will go away and you'll wake up.
John Whittaker: Go away, bad dream.
Clara Portland: BOO. Don’t forget the BOO.


Clara Portland: No! Go away bad dream, boo, go away bad dream, boo, go away bad dream, boo.
John Whittaker: Clara, I'm sorry honey, but this dream won't go away.


Jack Allen: (reading letter to Whit from Clara) I'm glad you're still being brave, and remembering me, even as I remember you. You and Mr. Allen were right for giving me up to the Portlands...I couldn't be happier. So if you ever see Mr. Allen again and he still feels bad, you know what to tell him. (to Whit) What?
John Whittaker: (chuckles) Go away, bad dream. Boo.


Jack Allen: You know she belongs in a two-parent home. She needs a daddy and a mommy--something you can't give her.
John Whittaker: I can give her the next best thing!
Jack Allen: Oh, listen to yourself. You're going against every principle you've ever taught! And why? Because of something you want! Is that what's best for Clara, Whit? Are you thinking about her...or just about yourself?


John Whittaker: What was that? I said I was sorry, Mr. Chuckleford. I didn't know it was your seat until Clara told me.
Annabella Lee: What?
John Whittaker: You know you're very fortunate to have such a good friend as Clara Mr. Chuckleford. She really looks out for you.


Annabella Lee: But it's just a stupid toy.
John Whittaker: What's that Mr. Chuckleford? Oh well I guess it's because no one has taught Annabella it's very rude to call people stupid or crazy. Yes, yes you're right. If she keeps it up, she won't have very many friends left. What do you think Annabella?
Annabella Lee: I... I think you're both weird!