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The Fayetteville Observer, N.C., Live Wire column
[November 22, 2012]

The Fayetteville Observer, N.C., Live Wire column

Nov 22, 2012 (The Fayetteville Observer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Q: I've read about the actors who portrayed the family members on "the Waltons," which I've been watching on the Inspiration Channel. Can you tell me the names of the real Hamners and if they're still living I read somewhere there were eight Hamners, not seven. -- D.W., Elizabethtown A: There were indeed eight siblings in the Hamner clan that was the model for the TV show family.

But John-Boy -- oops, we mean author, series creator and narrator Earl Hamner Jr. -- based the character of Ben on two of his brothers, Bill and Paul.

Mary Ellen, Erin and Elizabeth were based on his sisters Marion, Audrey and Nancy, respectively. Jason and Jim-Bob were based on his brothers Clifton and James.

Grandma and Grandpa Walton were composites of both sets of Hamner's grandparents. The Walton parents were, of course, based on his parents -- Earl Sr. and Doris. Earl Hamner Sr. died in 1969, two years before the TV series began, but Doris, who died in 1990, loved the show, which told stories based on the family's life in rural Virginia during the Depression.

The show is narrated by the grown-up John-Boy, who has become an accomplished author by then. Earl Jr. read those parts.

Earl Jr., the eldest of the siblings, is 89 and lives in California. Audrey, Paul and Nancy are all still living, according to

The TV show was filmed in California, but the home the Hamners lived in during the Depression is in Schuyler, Va., a teensy town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Across the street from it, in a former elementary school, is the Waltons Mountain Museum. There, you can see depictions of Earl's -- we mean John-Boy's -- bedroom, the kitchen and the living room.

For more information, check

Q: I have an older-model laptop and printer that I'd like to donate to a worthy cause this year. Can you tell me who is accepting these -- S.A., Fayetteville A: Our best suggestion: Check with your favorite nonprofit organization or a nearby school and see if it can be put to use there or if they can suggest a worthy recipient.

If we hear other suggestions, besides requests from individuals, we'll post them here later.

Old computer and electronics equipment that has outlived its potential usefulness must be recycled instead of being tossed in the trash. Cumberland County residents can take such items to the recycling area at the Ann Street landfill. Or check for options at

Live Wire seeks to answer questions of general interest and consumer topics within two weeks. Initials are used to identify questioners when names are given. Contact Live Wire via Live Wire's Facebook page, at or at 486-3516.

___ (c)2012 The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.) Visit The Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, N.C.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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