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Valene Ewing Dallas biography TNT

Valene Biography Valene Oral History Gary & Val Oral History

 

"Last thing they wanted was him being married to a nobody like me. Bobby was the only one who ever acted like he was on my side. I was just poor white trash from Tennessee who got Gary into trouble. I wasn't fit to be [Lucy's] mother. I had no business raising a Ewing, much less being one. ".- Valene Ewing

Valene Clements was the daughter of Lillimae and Jeremiah Clements. When Valene was 5 years old Lillimae left to pursue her music career, leaving Valene to be looked after by her father.

Valene loved her father dearly, he was much older than her mother Lilimae but Val and Jeremiah had a very special connection. Lilmae felt squeezed out by their relationship as she explained several years later.

Lilimae on Val: "I was just a baby when she was born. Val's daddy, Jeremiah, he was an awful lot older than me. He and my daddy was friends. Jeremiah was a good man, but he was put off by my spirit. I was a fiery one, I was. When Valene was born, she kind of took him by surprise. He never knew he could love anybody so much. He never had much for me anyway, but after Val, well, it was just them … and me. But that didn't mean I didn't love [Val] because I did. I just felt squeezed out."

Following his death Valene was passed from one relative to another but she always hoped her mother would return.

Valene : "That Christmas when Daddy died, I was with some neighbor and Mama swore up and down that she would come to Aunt June's to see me, if they could just get me there. So they carted me one hundred miles to Aunt June's, just to spend Christmas with Mama. She never came. Best she could do was send a patchwork quilt for me, store bought. I have hated patchwork ever since"

As a teenager in 1960 Val worked in a diner, it was there she met Gary Ewing.

Years later Valene recalled their first meeting

Val: Well, I was fifteen years old, fresh out from Tennessee, waitressing at this little diner just outside of Fort Worth, Texas, at the intersection of two highways.

Lucy to Val: But you said you were sixteen to get the job.

Val: Most of the customers were truck drivers and I was used to getting teased by them, but this one night, we were real busy. Mary Jo, the other waitress, had called in sick, and I was just trying my very best to keep on top of it. Everything backfired. First, one table started complaining, then another and another. Before I knew it, I was right in the middle of it all in tears, when this blond god got up from the counter and just started helping me. He didn't say a word to me, he just smiled at me, and I got this real flutter feeling in my tummy, and right away I knew everything was gonna be all right. It was Gary, the prettiest man I ever saw. I think I fell in love with him that very minute. He made me feel like a lady. He was there when I got off work to walk me home. "Miss Valene," he said, "I have the urge to ask you to marry me." I didn't know what to say, but he took that as a yes, and three days later we got married. Never even touched me. He never even hardly kissed me till after. It was a good thing too, because I would have been scared. I mean, I was always a good girl. That's when I was the happiest, fresh out from Tennessee with Gary at the very beginning.

After a whirlwind courtship they married. Valene hadn't just married Gary, she also married all of the rich Ewing's of Dallas. For a while things seemed to go well and they had a daughter, Lucy. But, Gary's brother J.R' harassed the couple which started rows between the pair,

Valene - "Last thing they wanted was him being married to a nobody like me. Bobby was the only one who ever acted like he was on my side. I was just poor white trash from Tennessee who got Gary into trouble. I wasn't fit to be [Lucy's] mother. I had no business raising a Ewing, much less being one. We were so young, sometimes I wonder how we ever survived. He just wasn't strong enough to stand up to them,
especially to JR.
"

Soon Gary was drinking too much. After several months of arguing, Valene threw Gary out and he simply just didn't come back. J.R. threatened Val, so she decided to take baby Lucy and go to her mother. She arrived at Lillimae's home and was astounded when Lillimae turned her away, J.R. soon caught up with her and took Lucy away, he and his gang of mates threatened that they would have her arrested for prostitution if she ever set foot in Dallas again.

Valene to Lilimae: It was me and my baby, and you turned us away.
Lilimae: How could I have let you in? If my manager had found out I was a grandmother, it would have been over.
Valene: What would have been over? Your wonderful career? When did that ever get started?
Lilimae: It could have been my big break. It almost was.
Valene: I told you that I was in trouble, Mama. Those old boys were after me, and when you wouldn't let me in, they caught me and they took my baby. They took her back to Texas, to Gary's folks. So I went back after her, and when I got back to Texas, those old boys wouldn't let me near the ranch.


Broken hearted Valene had to start another new chapter of her life. Her one consolation was that she knew Lucy would be well cared for by Miss Ellie (Gary's Momma).

For the next 15 years Valene worked in a series of diners. One day whilst working in a little Diner just out side Dallas, Valene looked up and their stood Lucy, it was a tearful and truthful reunion. Several weeks later Lucy came to visit again but this time she wasn't alone, she had brought Gary with her. Gary and Lucy persuaded Valene to go back to Southfork. J.R. had set Gary up in an office equipment machinery firm in a hope that Gary would fail as usual and leave Southfork.

Gary knew that living on Southfork again would soon drive him back to drink, so he left again. Valene saw him leaving and accused him of running away, J.R. then offered Valene $5000.00 to leave as well. Val told J.R. that the one thing he couldn't do was buy her with his Ewing money and left in search of Gary. Leaving Lucy behind. … again.

Valene sent Lucy a letter explaining that she had been driven off Southfork by J.R., Val kept trying to get in contact with Lucy even asking for Bobby's help. It didn't work; Lucy didn't want to know.
Bobby, Gary's younger brother persuaded Lucy to give Val one more chance and they went to her motel room just in time to her J.R. threatening Val and laughing at her stupidity for not accepting the money he had offered her before. Lucy now new the truth and a friendship started between Val and Lucy. Val and Gary found each other again and decided to try and rebuild their relationship. They still loved each other. After bumping into Bobby, Gary arranged to meet with his mother who wanted them to come back to Southfork. Gary explained that they wanted a fresh start in a new area, so Miss Ellie decided that she would buy them a house, in a place called Knots Landing, California.

Val and Gary arrived in California, Miss Ellie as well as buying them a home had sent them loads of furniture from Southfork. Val was entranced with California especially with the ocean, she had never seen the ocean.

Valene: All my life, I'd wanted to [see the ocean]. Even when I was little, I knew that the ocean would probably be the biggest and the most beautiful and most powerful thing I'd ever see. I thought just by being close to it, it would just make me better; make me think clearer and feel deeper and just know more.

She liked her new neighbors Sid and Karen were middle aged and had kids, Ginger and Kenny were newly weds and Richard and Laura had a rather unsettled marriage and a young son. Sid offered Gary a job at his garage. Lillimae came to visit and Val started a row with Lilimae. Lillimae apologized for not taking Valene and Lucy in, when Lucy was a baby. Valene haltingly reconciled with Lillimae. Gary and Val receive a phone from Bobby to tell them that Lucy has found out about the remarriage and is angry. Lucy comes out to stay with Val and Gary and winds Val around her little finger whilst causing havoc for Gary.

Lucy asks Val to move back to Texas with her saying that she blamed Gary for everything, Val thought about it, but then Lucy and Gary made up and they all went for a run on the beach! Sid and Karen threw a party for Gary and offer him a promotion, he then started drinking to celebrate. Gary took off for the bar and is arrested by the police. Val contemplated leaving Gary but Karen talks her out of it and names her 'The Little Engine that could.' Gary joins Alcoholics Anonymous. Sid's sister Abby arrives in Knots Landing with her two children Olivia and Brian, Sid offers Abby a job at his Garage. Val decides to go to college. Gary is attending Alcoholics anonymous and meets a man who needs his help, Val gets a little jealous of Gary helping Earl Trent all the time. Gary gets close to Judy Trent, Earl's wife. To make trouble Abby invites Val for lunch and takes her to the restaurant where Judy and Gary are eating. Val gets angry and runs off, Judy tells Val that she and Gary are in love. Val went to the beach to collect her thoughts. Gary finds her and they make up.

Val sees Lillimae stop a mugging on the news and realizes that Lillimae is homeless, Val asks Lillimae to live with her and Gary. Gary and Abby start to see a lot of each other supposedly about business but it is really the start of an affair. Val writes a book at college. Lillimae and Joe Cooper (Karen's brother) send the book to a publisher, who is impressed and offers Val a deal. Gary reads the book and says that as it is all about the Ewings, she must turn the publishing deal down. Val says she will if Gary stops seeing Abby. Gary can't keep his promise to Val. Val asks Gary if he is sleeping with Abby and he storms off, so Val asks Abby if they are sleeping together and Abby tells Val that she's not saying Yes and not saying no, but she is saying that she can have him anytime she want him.' Val slaps Abby around the face and signs the book deal anyway. Gary fails to turn up at the book release party so Karen goes looking for him, Val follows Karen and finds Gary in bed with Abby. Val kicks Gary out. Val's book is renamed Capricorn crude and becomes a No.1 best seller.

Val meets Ben Gibson while out running they start a relationship, Gary is jealous, Val and Gary divorce. Gary and Val sleep together just before Gary marries Abby. Val finds out she is pregnant with Gary's twins and Ben agrees to raise them as his own. Abby finds out that the twins aren't Ben's but Gary's. Val goes into premature labour and is told that the baby's have died. She is convinced that they are alive and worries everyone by going mad and disappearing to Tennessee. In Tennessee she tells everyone her name is Verna and starts dating Parker Winslow.

Gary finds Val and is horrified when she doesn't recognise him, he stops her marrying Parker and takes her back to Knots Landing. Lillimae, Ben and Valene's newly found half brother Joshua upset her when they still don't believe that her twins are alive. Karen believes her though and starts looking for them. The trail leads to a Dr. Ackerman who was hired by one of Abby's flunkies to sell the twins to another couple. Karen, Mack and Ben find the twins but before the can do any thing,
Abby tells Val that she has found the twins. After quite a struggle Val and the twins are reunited.

Whilst Ben and Val happily get married, Abby and Gary are arguing and Val's brother Joshua resorts to violence with his new bride Cathy. Joshua is jealous of Cathy and lures her to a rooftop, he has decided to kill them both,

Lillimae screams to Joshua to stop, he takes a step back and falls of the roof. Cathy and Ben start to get closer. Gary has his suspicions that the twins are his and gives Bobby and Betsy a parcel of land each, as their first birthday present. Ben is angry and contemplates leaving Val for Cathy, he decides to stay and try again with Val. Ben is then offered a job with Greg Sumner and he says yes. Ben's old college friend Jean Hackney gets in touch and threatens Ben, they had been terrorists whilst at college and he must either kill Greg Sumner or 'they' would kill Val, the twins and Ben. Ben goes along with it for a while, and then with the help of Mack and Greg, Jean Hackney is sent away for good.

Ben is still scared that Jean will find him and decides to disappear forever. Lillimae meets Al and they fall in love and decide to go travelling in Al's Winnebago. Meanwhile Abby and Gary have divorced and Gary is seeing Jill Bennet.

Gary starts seeing a lot of Val and the twins, so Val tells him that he is the kid's true father. Jill is jealous and starts to play with Val's mind by, sending her letters from Ben. Jill then sets up an elaborate plan to kill Val, it fails and Val is taken to a psychiatric hospital. Val tells everyone that Jill tried to kill her. No one believes her and the children go to live with Lillimae. Gary and Mack start to believe Val and unravel Jill's plan. Gary finishes his relationship with Jill who then kills herself in a failed attempt to woo Gary back.

Aunt Ginny brings the children back from Lillimae's and starts living with Val. Aunt Ginny persuades Val to buy a computer and in doing so, Val meets Danny Waleska, a short courtship ensues and Val and Danny marry. Danny dislikes Gary and frightens the twins into believing Gary doesn't love them any more. Then Gary discovers Danny's murky past and Danny starts to bully Val, Val realises that for everyone sanity she must leave Danny. Danny kills their neighbor Pat whilst drunk driving, then he sneaks into an empty house on Seaview Circle and he slips into the outside pool and drowns.

Gary and Val decide that after all that has happened in their lives they still love each other. While they are living at Gary's ranch Val suffers a fall and starts acting very strangely. Val finally recovers from her illness and marries Gary for the third time. Gary looses all of his money in the Tidal Energy Venture so Val takes up a request from her publisher to write a book on Greg Sumner. Whilst researching for the book Val is kidnapped by Tredwell and presumed dead. It takes a lot of courage and many months for Val to escape her kidnappers and make her way back to California.

Val sends Gary a note asking him to meet her at the Ocean, as she has never seen the Ocean.


Gary is surprised to receive the note as he thought Val was dead and a very touching reunion is held.

In 2013 Valene and Gary Ewing return to Dallas

Valene Ewing - An Oral History

A history of Valene using dialogue from Dallas and Knots Landing

Val's story

Valene: All my life, I'd wanted to [see the ocean]. Even when I was little, I knew that the ocean would probably be the biggest and the most beautiful and most powerful thing I'd ever see. I thought just by being close to it, it would just make me better; make me think clearer and feel deeper and just know more.

Lilimae Clements, Val's mother: You slept through the night almost from the day you were born.

Gary to Valene: Lilimae married your daddy when she was fourteen. He was an old man already. Probably treated her like the little girl she was until you came along.

Lilimae on Val: I was just a baby when she was born. Val's daddy, Jeremiah, he was an awful lot older than me. He and my daddy was friends. Jeremiah was a good man, but he was put off by my spirit. I was a fiery one, I was. When Valene was born, she kind of took him by surprise. He never knew he could love anybody so much. He never had much for me anyway, but after Val, well, it was just them … and me. But that didn't mean I didn't love [Val] because I did. I just felt squeezed out.

Lilimae: When Valene was a baby, she could listen to my singing all day. Had no choice, come to think of it. I was always singing. My music always gave me pleasure and I needed pleasure. I needed to feel important, I needed life, and if I'd had my own life, I could have given more to [Val] and to Jeremiah.

Valene: Mama and me, we were never close. She left my daddy and me for weeks [at a time], while she went off chasing that dream of hers of becoming a professional singer.

Lilimae: I may have left Valene from time to time, but she was always with her daddy who loved her.

Gary to Valene: You got all the attention she used to get, right? Maybe she felt shut out by you and your daddy, and she figured the only way to get close was to make herself a star.

Lilimae to Valene: Your papa's insurance didn't hardly pay for [his] funeral. I couldn't even pay for your board with any neighbour folk.

Valene on Lilimae: She didn't even sing me "Little Maggie" [before she left].

Lilimae on her career: I was always kept at it. You make sacrifices for your talent. Talent is God-given so you have to do it. Sometimes your family doesn't understand that. They don't understand you're doing it for them. It's true, Val. You never knew that it was for you, did you?

Valene: That Christmas when Daddy died, I was with some neighbours and Mama swore up and down that she would come to Aunt June's to see me, if they could just get me there. So they carted me one hundred miles to Aunt June's, just to spend Christmas with Mama. She never came. Best she could do was send a patchwork quilt for me, store bought. I have hated patchwork ever since.

Lilimae: I set my mind on being a star. I chased my musical dreams my whole life. It was always just around the corner.

Val: I had the whooping cough and I had to stay home from school. My mama stayed with - wait a minute, it wasn't my mama - it was my Aunt Edna. She was pretty. She had beautiful eyes. She was very kind. She never got married though.

Val on Christmas 1953: I remember stringing popcorn and hanging it on the tree, and I remember Mama and me baking fruitcakes from Aunt Edna's own special recipe. Mama was so strict about every detail. Once a year she was a homemaker, so we had to do everything just perfect. I still remember how delicious those fruitcakes tasted. It's probably because Mama and I baked them together. I remember how Mama turned all the compliments to me - I'd done everything just right, you know, and I'd insisted on doing it a certain way - when it was really all her. She made me feel so proud of myself. That night, we stayed up all night talking. I was just a little girl, I was probably seven or maybe eight, but Mama talked to me like I was a woman. She asked me about my ambitions and my goals. I didn't have any, but she said I would real soon. She told me about her dreams, what her life was like. I thought being a grown up was the most exciting thing in the world. Two years later, Aunt Edna put me on a bus and I rode all the way to Nashville, all by myself. I went to the theatre where Mama was playing. She was an assistant to a magician, Alfonso the Great. I remember the theatre smelt old and dirty, and it was mostly empty. When I was backstage to see her, she was in this terrible flurry. She had to run across town and audition an act of her own. She didn't invite me along. She didn't even ask me to stick around so that we could talk later. I was just in the way. So I took the next bus back to Aunt Edna and I lied about what a wonderful time I'd had.

Lilimae: In those days, my ambition and my need for excitement were more important than anything else, or anyone else. I was convinced that I could do it all, especially if I weren't tied down. I lost my children and the only man I ever loved. I worried about my children. Even if I couldn't be with them, I worried about them. I wondered, "What would they become? Would they be safe? Would they be happy?" I was always hoping for something that would ease the worry. I ended up a lonely, confused woman with everything I owned in a shopping cart

Gary and Val (1960-63)

Lucy Ewing on her father Gary: Once upon a time, he went off and got this lovely fifteen year old girl pregnant, my mommy.

Val: Well, I was fifteen years old, fresh out from Tennessee, waitressing at this little diner just outside of Fort Worth, Texas, at the intersection of two highways.

Lucy to Val: But you said you were sixteen to get the job.

Val: Most of the customers were truck drivers and I was used to getting teased by them, but this one night, we were real busy. Mary Jo, the other waitress, had called in sick, and I was just trying my very best to keep on top of it. Everything backfired. First, one table started complaining, then another and another. Before I knew it, I was right in the middle of it all in tears, when this blond god got up from the counter and just started helping me. He didn't say a word to me, he just smiled at me, and I got this real flutter feeling in my tummy, and right away I knew everything was gonna be all right. It was Gary, the prettiest man I ever saw. I think I fell in love with him that very minute. He made me feel like a lady. He was there when I got off work to walk me home. "Miss Valene," he said, "I have the urge to ask you to marry me." I didn't know what to say, but he took that as a yes, and three days later we got married. Never even touched me. He never
even hardly kissed me till after. It was a good thing too, because I would have been scared. I mean, I was always a good girl. That's when I was the happiest, fresh out from Tennessee with Gary at the very beginning.

Gary to Val: You remember when your mother find us in the garage? I said we were looking for a pencil sharpener. It was the only thing I could think of.
Val: And then Mama said, 'You'd have better luck finding it, sweetpea, if you turn the light on.'"

Val on Gary: He was the dearest man I ever knew, every day I knew him, till he brought me home to meet his family. He kept saying no and stalling, but after you [Lucy] were on the way I made him take me home to meet them. Well, that was the biggest mistake of my whole life.

Lucy: He brought her home, but he couldn't do nothing right.

Val on the Ewings: Last thing they wanted was him being married to a nobody like me. Bobby was the only one who ever acted like he was on my side. I was just poor white trash from Tennessee who got Gary into trouble. I wasn't fit to be [Lucy's] mother. I had no business raising a Ewing, much less being one. We were so young, sometimes I wonder how we ever survived. He just wasn't strong enough to stand up to them,
especially to JR.

JR: I tried to annul that marriage to that trashy girl.

Val on her pregnancy craving: Watermelon pickle, I loved it.

Gary to Lucy: When you were a little baby, I used to dance with you every night. Of course, it's a little hard to dance to "Rock-A-Bye Baby".

Miss Ellie to Gary: You tried to stand on your own two feet when you had Lucy, and your family kicked your heels right out from underneath you.

Lucy on Gary: He started drinking all the time.

Val on Gary: I used to think that he drank because he didn't fit in, because his daddy and his brothers said he was weak and he had no character because he wasn't a tough and ruthless Ewing like them. I lived with Gary when he was drinking and I would see him drift away, even when we were sitting in the same room. I would watch him helplessly and I'd wonder what I was doing wrong, how I'd failed him. Well, I know now it wasn't me. There was nothing I could do to stop him and nothing I could blame myself for. The only thing I could do for Gary was stand by him and love him, and wait. Gary doesn't need a special reason to drink. He'll drink for any reason.

JR on Gary: He was scared of I don't know what. Always running away. Every time there's any pressure, any time there's any responsibility: out the door.

Jock on Gary: I tried to teach him to stand up and fight. It broke my heart when I found out he didn't have any guts.

Gary: Daddy never trusted me. He liked Val. He used to call her my anchor. As far as I could tell, I wasn't good for anything.
Val: Oh, that was your big brother talking, not you.
Gary: Well, I didn't do much thinking on my own in those days. All I knew was, I couldn't breathe on this ranch.

Lucy on Gary: He just came and went.

Gary to Lucy: I ran away from you and your mama a lot.

Lucy on Gary: Disappeared for weeks and months, came back again and started hitting my mom.

Bobby to Gary: I can remember Daddy and Mama sparring with words. I was just a kid when you left, but I can still remember them talking about you. And Daddy would say that you didn't have the Ewing guts, and Mama would say "Well, thank goodness for that", because she thought you had Southworth gallantry, and that was a much better thing to have. Mama thought guts were low grade courage, and gallantry was courage with grace.

Miss Ellie: [Jock] was always hard on Gary. Too hard. The Ewing men are strong - Jock, JR, Bobby. Lucy's father, he wasn't strong, couldn't compete. That's why he left.

JR on Gary: Did not leave. He flat ran out.

Jock on Miss Ellie: She held me responsible for running Gary off, but I loved [him].
Miss Ellie to Jock: But you never cared about him. You never took the time to find out about him.

Jock on Gary: Maybe I could've done better by him, but I didn't know how.

Gary: I was weak, and I let my father and my brother drive me away, and I ran.
Val: We would have gone with you.
Gary: To do what? To go where? I was a drunk and a gambler and a loser. I know it's no excuse, but when I left here, I didn't think they'd make you leave too. I thought I'd be back.
Val: As soon as you left, JR got rid of me.

JR on Val: I told that girl never to set foot in Texas again.

Val: I snuck back for Lucy and took her.

Lucy: When JR found out, he called some nice old boys in Dallas.

Val: JR sent some mean old boys after me to get Lucy back. And they followed me all the way to Tennessee.

Lucy on Val: They went after her. They caught up with her all the way over to Virginia.

Valene to Lilimae: It was me and my baby, and you turned us away.
Lilimae: How could I have let you in? If my manager had found out I was a grandmother, it would have been over.
Valene: What would have been over? Your wonderful career? When did that ever get started?
Lilimae: It could have been my big break. It almost was.
Valene: I told you that I was in trouble, Mama. Those old boys were after me, and when you wouldn't let me in, they caught me and they took my baby. They took her back to Texas, to Gary's folks. So I went back after her, and when I got back to Texas, those old boys wouldn't let me near the ranch.

Lucy on Val: They told her that if she ever came near Texas again, they'd kill her.

Val: Scared me half to death. They weren't fooling. I believe they'd have killed me soon as look at me.

Lucy on Val: One time I even heard she went to the law to get me back.

Valene: I went to the sheriff's office.

Lucy: Didn't amount to anything though.

Gary: The law was pretty tight with my family.
Val: And I can't tell you what that was like, knowing anything at all could be done to me, and there wasn't nothing the police would do about it because there wasn't any difference between those old boys and the police.

Lucy: It was JR who done it all.

Val: What did I have? Nothing. At least I knew Miss Ellie would raise Lucy right.

Miss Ellie to Val: I raised [Lucy] because the Ewings made it impossible for you to raise her, but I shouldn't have. I should have fought them, but I didn't.

Val on Lucy: I didn't see her again for fifteen years.

Miss Ellie to Bobby: Do you remember how I used to sit over there in that chair for hours, trying to feed Lucy? I was just so happy to have her here. What a beautiful child she was.
Bobby: I just remember she was awful stubborn, that's all.

Miss Ellie on Lucy: These strong Ewing men never had the strength to say no to her. And I haven't been any stronger. I always wanted a daughter. Maybe it's a good thing I never had one.

Lucy to Gary: While I was growing up and you and Mama weren't there, I must have had about ten thousand dreams about [my wedding] day, about walking down the aisle on your arm and Mama being there.

Ray to Lucy: I know it hasn't been easy for you growing up the way you did; no mama, no papa. I know you've been lonely a lot of the time.

Bobby on Lucy and Ray: She's been tagging around after him ever since she could walk. He always had time for when the rest of us thought we were too busy.

Pam to Lucy: This family's so full of guilt because your daddy ran away they let you run wild.

 


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