Little House on the Prairie

If I Should Wake Before I Die

Season 1, Ep 6, Aired 10/23/74
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  • Episode Description
  • Amy Hearn is an elderly Walnut Grove resident whose children don't seem to be trying hard enough to visit her. In an act of desperation, Amy decides that staging her own funeral is the only way to see them again, but it's a scam that she can't pull off by herself...

  • Cast & Crew
  • Melissa Gilbert

    Laura Elizabeth Ingalls/Wilder

  • Dabbs Greer

    Reverend Alden

  • Melissa Sue Anderson

    Mary Amelia Ingalls/Kendall (1974 - 1981)

  • Kevin Hagen

    Dr. Hiram Baker

  • Richard Bull

    Nels Oleson

  • Fan Reviews (5)
  • An interesting episode with both humourous and very sad moments intertwined.

    By Lady_Lancaster, Mar 18, 2011

  • An elderly woman concocts a scheme to attend her own wake, in order to see her children who have neglected to visit her.

    By walnutgrove, Jun 02, 2009

  • Miss Amy's friend middie dies on the eve of her birthday party. At the funeral her family turns up, Laura mentions to Miss Amy that folk should have there funerals while they are still alive, And so with Miss Amy starts to plan her own wake her way

    By wheelbin, Apr 10, 2009

  • A good lesson for us all.

    By crittercove, Jun 10, 2008

  • Will Miss Amy have the joy of reuniting with her family after all?

    By loverslost, Feb 14, 2006

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (8)

    • Sean: (when the family learns that Amy isn't really dead) Mother, what in the name of common sense?!?! Amy: I'll get to you later. Let me deal with this one first. You miserable, ungrateful boy! All these years, I'm thinking you're dead, killed in the Indian War or Stone River, or Shiloh! How could you do this to me? How could you forget your own mother? Fifteen years of hurt and worry, waiting for a letter from the war department, and not a move you make until you think I'm dead and gone. And you, Sean. I'm supposed to forgive you too, I suppose? Sean: Now, just a minute, Amy Hearn! You've got some explaining to do! Bridget: How could you do it? How could you let them tell us you were dead? Sean: You had no right, Mother! Amy: Rights? You're talking about rights? Whose rights? I've got a right to see my own children and grandchildren. It comes before anything else! And you ask how I could do it. Well, it isn't hard when you've tried everything else, when you're so hungry for the sight and feel of your family. You can't sleep at night thinking of them, and when it comes to you, the one thing that will bring them to you is your own wake...well, it isn't hard to do at all. Sean, I heard you say it. "Why is it," you said, "you have to wait until they're gone before you know what they mean to you"? Well, you mean everything to me, you three. (long pause) 80 years old, and I don't have many birthdays left. Maybe...maybe not even one. And when you think of that, you have...you have to be foolish. (starts crying)

    • Laura: (in bed) Mary? Mary? Mary: What? Laura: How old do you want to live to be? Mary: Oh, I don't know. Let me sleep. Laura: I want to live forever. Mary: Well, you can't. Laura: Who said? Mary: God. Laura: God never told you that. Mary: Will you go to sleep? Laura: That's what it's like. Mary: That's what what's like? Laura: Going to sleep. When you go to sleep, it's like you're dead. (smiles) Night!

    • Doc Baker: You're asking me to wire your children and tell them you're dead! Amy: But you'd wire them if I was dead, wouldn't you? Doc Baker: Of course I would. Amy: Why, then? Why would you please my ghost instead of my flesh and blood? Charles: Well, Amy, it isn't that-- Amy: In the name of Heaven, what is it? You're like my children. A dutiful letter once or twice a year. "Do you have money, Mother? Is there anything you want"? And I write them back, "All I'd like is you. When can you come and visit me"? And Andy marched off to war when he was 19, with a smile and a whistle and a last hug and kiss, and in 15 years, I've not had a word from him! They'll come to my funeral, because it's a sin not to. And they'll weep and say all the things I'll not be there to hear. And you, both of you. You're the same. You'd do for my corpse, but not for me.

    • Laura: (when the group is singing "Go Tell Aunt Rhodie") I don't like to sing about dying. It's sad. Maddie: There's nothing so sad about dying. Laura: I think it's sad. Maddie: Well, when you get as close to it as I am, it ain't sad. It's just like finishing a book or quilt, or maybe a long journey down the river and starting off somewhere else that may be more fun than where you were before.

    • Carrie: (about Maddie's funeral) What are they doing? Amy: They're saying good-bye, child. Laura: Well, what good does it do when she can't hear them? Why didn't they come to her birthday? Amy: You can miss a birthday, and nobody says much, but you can't miss a funeral. Mary: Why not? Amy: That's just the way grown-ups are. Laura: Hmm. It ought to be the other way around. Amy: A lot of things in this life ought to be the other way around.

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    Notes (3)

    • Filming Locations: Filmed at Big Sky Ranch, Simi Valley and Paramount Studios, Hollywood, California.

    • Larry Germain was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Any Area of Creative Technical Crafts.

    • The Luggage Bag used by Amy is the same one used by Albert in Home Again

    Trivia (3)

    • Miss Amy's autoharp is out of place here, since Oscar Schmidt Co. didn't invent it until the 1950's.

    • Amy Hearn is often mentioned through out the series, but this is the only episode that she appeared in.

    • Robin Muir, who plays Miss Amy's little granddaughter Maureen, appears again as Charles Ingalls' younger sister Polly in a flashback sequence in Season 4's I Remember, I Remember. Aside from a simple hello, though, she doesn't have any speaking lines in either episode.

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