Last in a Long Line
Eugene and Bernard Walton are both doing freelance work for the local Presbyterian church, Bernard on their windows and Eugene on their computer. They walk home together. Much against Bernard’s wishes, they take a shortcut through the cemetery next to the church. Eugene chides Bernard for feeling spooked, until he sees a tombstone with “Meltsner” carved on it! When Eugene investigates further, he discovers that the full name on the stone reads “Leonard Meltsner,” Eugene’s father!
Eugene is stunned. He has always believed that his father and mother died on an anthropological expedition in the rain forests of Zaire. Eugene tells Whit about the grave, and they decide to find out the truth. The city records reveal nothing, so they go back to the cemetery to see if the church has any records. That’s when Eugene notices that the grave has been manicured! Its grass has been trimmed, and fresh flowers have been planted.
Just then, the church secretary walks up to them. She reports that the church’s records don’t reveal much information. But files do show that its upkeep is paid for each month by “The GHM Fund, Connellsville Bank.” Eugene surmises that "GHM" stands for “Garvey Hiram Meltsner,” his grandfather. Eugene is ecstatic at the thought that his grandfather may still be alive! Eugene had always assumed that he was the last living Meltsner.
Whit reminds Eugene that the check came from a trust fund, his grandfather might not be alive. Whit pulls a few strings and learns where G. Hiram lives. But when Whit and Eugene go there, they learn that Eugene’s grandfather passed away just a few days earlier. Eugene is heartbroken.
G. Hiram did leave his grandson a piggy bank filled with silver dollars, though. Hiram originally gave it to Eugene for Christmas when he was two years old. Because Eugene liked it so much, Hiram promised to put a silver dollar in it every year for Eugene. But Eugene’s father and grandfather had a fight, and Eugene never saw Hiram again. Hiram still put coins in the piggy bank every year, hoping that Eugene would visit. Eugene is touched. For the first time in his life, he understands the true meaning of family. Then, he realizes that Bernard is his cousin!
- Why was it so important for Eugene to know if his father was buried in Odyssey?
- Why was finding his grandfather so important to Eugene?
- What would you do if you saw your family name carved on a tombstone in a cemetery?
- What do you know about your heritage?
- Is your family history important to you?
- Why or why not?
Heard in episode
|Miss Grayson||Chris Anthony|
|Bernard Walton||Dave Madden|
|Eugene Meltsner||Will Ryan|
|John Whittaker||Hal Smith|
|Lucy Cunningham-Schultz||Genni Long|
|Ralph Reems||Bob Luttrell|
Mentioned in episode
|Leonard Meltsner||Eugene Meltsner|
|Thelma Meltsner||Eugene Meltsner|
|Garvey Hiram Meltsner||Eugene Meltsner|
- The subject matter of this episode (Eugene's family) would not be revisited until the three-parter Prisoners of Fear — 14 years later!
- This episode marks the discovery of Eugene and Bernard Walton being cousins.
- Lucy's reference to muckraking, and her resistance to Bernard's idea of writing an article exposing a corporation, is due to her experience in #143: “Muckraker”.
Bernard Walton: Can you imagine being related to Eugene? <shudders> I think I'd rather pull out my fingernails with a pair of rusty pliers.
Bernard Walton: All those brains, he doesn't have the sense God gave a rabbit.
John Whittaker: <laughing> That's so formal, Eugene! Just call him Cousin "Bernie!"
Bernard Walton: <takes a big sip of lemonade> Ahh!
Lucy Cunningham-Schultz: Feel better now, Mr. Walton?
Bernard Walton: A little.
Lucy Cunningham-Schultz: That was my lemonade...
Bernard Walton: Oh. Sorry.
Bernard Walton: I refuse to be related to Eugene Meltsner!
Eugene Meltsner: Leonard... Leonard Meltsner!
Bernard Walton: Seems like you can't swing a dead cat these days without hitting somebody who's trying to save some plant or animal. What do you call 'em, endangered, uh... endangered...
Lucy Cunningham-Schultz: Species.
Bernard Walton: Gesundheit.