Olivia’s cousin Rose (how many does she have?) arrives at the Waltons with her two grandchildren, Jeffrey and Serena, under somewhat mysterious circumstances. In no time all, the kids start stirring up trouble: Jeffrey talks back, smuggles chickens, drives a car into a fence, pulls an air-raid siren and starts a fire in the mill, while Serena is a kleptomaniac, stealing jewelry from all the Walton women and denying it. Rose can’t stop apologizing for them, but John’s fuse is getting short. When Jeffery starts to get nightmares, Olivia suspects something, and her suspicions are confirmed when everyone sees welts on the boy’s back. Rose fesses up that she had taken the children away from their alcoholic, abusive father, and needs not simply a place to stay but a refuge. Naturally, the Waltons oblige.
A tried and true TV staple – in a family sitcom/drama, when the original kids are too old to be cute anymore, send in new ones (e.g., Family Ties, Full House, Cosby, The Brady Bunch, etc). These tykes seems to fit the bill, and if Jeffrey looks familiar, he’s played by Keith Mitchell, who would later become Keith Coogan, adolescent star of many 80s movies, the most famous probably being Adventures in Babysitting. It’s a testament to the patience of the Waltons clan that they put up with him for as long as they do- ANYONE else would’ve given him the boot on the first day.
Rose sticks around too. You might remember her as Boss Hogg’s better half, Lulu, on The Dukes of Hazzard, playing that role simultaneous to this one.
Again, no Grandma. Her absence is explained as her visiting cousins throughout Buckingham County. And she’s off the opening credits. Ouch.