Disclaimer: I don't own the Walton's

This is just a little idea I had about the Baldwin ladies when they were young, in their late teens. It's before Emily ever met Ashley Longworth.

Before the Time of Autumn Leaves

Nineteen year old Mamie Baldwin was working on her fine needlepoint in the sitting room of the house she and her younger sister Emily had grown up in. She looked up and sighed in contentment. It seemed like a perfect day. The sunshine was coming through the windows that were open to let a cool breeze in. The air was scented from the flowers in the rose garden outside. The rose garden was probably Mamie's favorite place because she had worked tending the flowers there with her late mother. She glanced up at her mother's portrait hanging over the fireplace. Mamie thought Mama looked so elegant and beautiful in her silk evening dress wearing her diamonds including a tiara.

Seventeen year old Emily Baldwin had been playing the piano while Mamie was sewing and thinking. When she stopped Mamie looked up and caught her younger sister staring dreamily into space. Mamie shook her head ruefully, thinking that her pretty golden haired sister was probably thinking about young men.

Mamie said, "That was lovely. But why did you stop playing? Are you thinking about young men again"?

Emily blushed and answered, "As a matter of fact, I was. I thought the university students we saw the last time Papa took us to Charlottesville were so handsome and dashing. I was thinking of how I could get one of them to notice me at the end of term dance at the university next week. Papa's letting us go now that he made that big donation".

Mamie sighed and said, "Emily, if I were you. I wouldn't be so obvious about it. Papa won't like it".

Emily replied in in aggravation, "Frankly, I don't think Papa wants us to have any kind of life now that Mama is gone. He seems to have got very possesive or he's spending all his time in the recipe room. The only young men he doesn't seem to object to us being around are our Baldwin cousins. I don't want to end up like Estelle Unwin over in Fluvanna Co. with nothing but her old house and memories to keep her company. She's just a little bit older than we are but she's already a confirmed old maid thinking about nothing but living in the past. I don't want that for myself and I happen to know if a certain young man wanted to court you, you would jump at the chance".

Mamie opened her mouth and then closed it and then opened it again and said, "And just what young man do you think I have my eye on"?

Emily smiled sweetly and answered, "Zeb Walton. Don't bother denying it. I've seen the way you look at him when he's unloading and splitting and stacking the firewood that Papa buys from his father. And I don't blame you either. He's ever so handsome with those twinkling eyes and that wavy red hair. Plus he's so tall and strong".

Mamie blushed and said, "He's very smart also. Every bit as smart as that cousin of his that went on to college and married that girl over at Doe Hill. It's a shame he had to leave school early when their family had financial troubles with him being the youngest and only one left at home. Very well sister, yes, I do favor him. You would think that Papa would approve of a Walton since they are the first settlers around here. But he would point out that they are not in our social standing or that he's too wild hanging around and raising cain with his kin Boone and Zadok Walton and. I think you are right, Papa wants to keep us all to himself.

Plus, as far as I know, he only has eyes for Esther Morgan".

Emily looked puzzled and said, "Esther who"?

Mamie said, "Cissy Morgan. From the dress shop in Rockfish".

Emily said, "Oh, I didn't know that was her real name. But I heard that she wanted to start her own dress shop. Maybe she will not want to get married. Plus I've also heard they fight like cats and dogs. Especially when he was flirting with that girl Moselle Lewis or Marcus Dane was paying attention to her at the last dance at the Whitley house. So maybe there's still a chance for you. That is if you really want to live on top of the mountain in a log house".

Mamie thought to herself about that same dance. Yes it's true that Zeb and Cissy had been arguing, but later in the evening she had, quite without meaning to, saw them kissing on the porch.

Mamie laughed and sighed, "They will get married. I'm sure of it. I think they both like the bickering. I hope you get to meet your love Emily. Don't worry about me".