Along those same lines....
Remember "The Waltons"?
Out of seven children, only ONE of them was worth a flip and it was NOT John Boy!!
The family scraped and saved every nickel they could for John Boy's education and what did he do? Write three novels that hardly anyone bought and he was dropped from his publisher. When he returned to Walton's Mountain after the war, he had to go back to Boatright University and take a job as a professor because, as his publisher stated, there was already a glut of wartime novels on the market...who needs another.
Jason got a music scholarship...what did he do with it? Well, he had the opportunity to appear on The Grand Ole Opry, but some sort of family crisis prevented him from accepting it. After the war, he bought the Dew Drop Inn so he could contribute to the delinquency of Walton's Mountain by selling liquor and playing the piano every night. Yeah, that was scholarship money well-spent.
That brings us to Mary Ellen. Mary Ellen sashayed up to nursing school thinking that they were just going to fall all over her wonderfulness and she'd walk out the door the next week and be a nurse.
Well, they sure put her in her place in a New York minute. The minute she started taking the admittance test, she discovered (horror of horrors!!!!) it contained questions about CHEMISTRY....and ALGEBRA!!!!!
She hadn't taken those courses in high school and had absolutely no idea they would be on the entrance test. I'll throw her a bone and allow that it is entirely possible that those courses were not offered back when she was in high school, but before she even registered for the test you would have thought she'd have the sense that God gave a billy goat to do a little research.
She knew she was going to be a nurse before she even got out of high school. How about asking John Boy to take her to the school one day so she could talk to someone at the school? How about sitting down with that traveling nurse on Walton's Mountain and say, "Uhhh....I know you can't tell me the exact questions that are on the entrance test, but can you tell me exactly what TYPES of questions are on that test? Do you have any books I can borrow? Can I follow you around for a week or so on my summer vacation to see what you do and if this is really something I want to do?"
And then, as soon as she's admitted to nursing school she dang near KILLS grandma! "Oh Grandma...you just have that virus that goin' around. Go to bed, drink plenty of fluids, yada yada yada." Turns out Grandma had appendicitis and they managed to get her to the hospital right before it burst. Way to go Mary Ellen.
Ben and Erin at least had a little bit of sense. Ben could wheel and deal to get what he wanted, but he really could be an a$$hole when he wanted. Erin took a couple of typing and shorthand courses and got a job as a secretary at JD Pickett's plant. To hear her tell it, she ran the plant.
When you really think about it, Jim-Bob was the most useful and likeable of the bunch.
Who built a short-wave radio that was able to communicate all the way to London during the blitz and find the mother of the two orphans right at Christmas? Jim-Bob.
Who built an ENTIRE car from pieces of scrap he found around Walton's Mountain? Jim-Bob.
And when John-Boy returned from the war, returned to Boatright, and was going to start up their television department, who went home and started building a television so the rest of the family could see John-Boy on TV? That would be.....(drum roll, please) Jim-Bob.
If you were having trouble with your washing machine and needed help with a repair, you'd have to wait on John-Boy to whip out his Big Chief writing pad and write about the whippoorwills singing in the pines, the aroma of the honeysuckle vines after a summer rain, and the laughter of the children as they walked home from school. Jason would have to find his harmonica first and Ben would want to know what was in it for him.
Jim-Bob would have simply walked to the junkyard and found a stove pipe, some old garden hoses, and an old war surplus filing cabinet and built a brand new washing machine.
Jim-Bob.....the McGyver of the Depression.