Lowell Mather and Roy Biggins are at the empty Tom Neverfields terminal playing chess. Roy clearly annoyed, sighs.
Roy: Lowell, are you ever gonna move?
Lowell: Me? I thought it was your turn.
Roy: Do you mean to tell me that we’ve been sitting here staring at this chessboard for half an hour, and you didn’t even know it was your turn?
Lowell: It appears so.
Roy: Well, move, you dunderhead!
Lowell: My pleasure, Roy.
Roy sighs. Lowell makes his move.
Roy is in shock.
Roy: Wait a minute. Maybe it was my turn.
Roy undos Lowell’s move.
Helen carrying a mug walks over to the Sandpiper Air’s counter.
Helen: Here’s your tea, Fay.
Fay: Oh, thanks Helen.
Helen: You seem perky today.
Fay: Oh, I’m exhilarated. We had our dress rehearsal last night for the senior center production of West Side Story.
Roy: You’re doing West Side Story?
Fay: Uh-huh. The Sharks and the Jets. I’m the leader of the Jets. We were up ‘til all hours rumbling.
Helen: Fay, I’m impressed.
Fay: Well, I must say, it’s given me a whole new understanding of youth gangs. You should never judge a boy until you’ve danced a mile in his slippers.
Roy: I don’t suppose we could see a little preview here, could we?
Fay: Uh, why not? I’m a trouper.
Roy and Helen chuckle. Fay steps out of the counter.
Fay: Ok, this is the big confrontation between the two gangs.
Fay bends his knees, starts tapping her right foot while snapping her fingers. With a haughty facial expression she looks left then right.
Helen smiles then chuckles.
Helen: All right!
Fay continues tapping, snapping, and looking left and right.
Roy: When do you start dancing?
Fay: That is the dance. I mean, i-it’s a senior’s group, for pity’s sake. Well, the leader of the Sharks is in a walker.
Brian and Lowell are at the lunch counter watching television. Helen makes her way towards them.
Helen: Hey, guys. What are you watching?
Lowell: Uh, golf from Palm Springs.
Brian: You know, Lowell, I—I never figured you to be a golf buff.
Lowell: Well, I’m not. I just watch it for the fashions. Oh, dear lord. That salmon is not a good color on Trevino.
Helen: Wait a minute, that’s President Ford teeing off, isn’t it?
Brian: Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Wonder if old Jerry has kept his game up after all these years.
The sound of a golf club swing comes out of the TV set.
Brian: Sliced his drive right into the spectators! Whoa!
Helen: He hit somebody. Hope that lady is all right.
Brian: Yeah, she’s—she’s fine. She’s groggy, but she’s sittin’ up. She—
Man on TV: Marshals are running to her aid.
Brian: Oh, my God.
Man on TV: Here’s a better look. She still seems to be conscious.
Brian walks closer to the television set, and points.
Brian: My God, Helen, that’s—that woman looks like—Helen, I think that’s my mother.
Helen looks closer.
Helen: It’s been a long time, Brian, but I think you’re right!
Lowell: What is you mother doing in Palm Springs? I mean, besides stumbling around the 18th fairway.
Brian: Uh, I don’t—how should I know? It’s been nearly 20 years since I’ve seen her. I—I—I gotta get Joe.
Brian runs to Joe’s office.
Roy: What’s goin’ on?
Lowell: President Ford just hit Brian’s mom in the head.
Roy: Well, ask a stupid question you get a stupid answer.
Brian runs out of Joe’s office with Joe following close behind him.
Brian: Come on, you gotta see this.
Joe: What is it? Did Roy sit in something again?
Brian: No, even better than that.
Brian takes a deep breath.
Brian: Guess who we just saw on television.
Lowell: I’ll give you a hint, someone you haven’t seen in many years.
Brian: No, Lowell, Lowell, let me handle this.
Lowell: Ok, just one more hint. He used to be president.
Brian: I just saw mom on television.
Brian: So? So? We finally know where she is, man. She’s in Palm Springs.
Joe: Good. Maybe she’ll get a tan.
Joe walks away.
Brian: Wait a second. Wait. What—what—what’s—what’s the matter with you? Aren’t you even interested to know where she’s been all these years?
Joe: Why should I be? That woman walked out on us 18 years ago. As far as I’m concerned, she can just keep walking.
Joe slams his office door. Brian turns to find Roy, Fay, and Helen look at him with pity.
Brian: Big lug, just can’t hold a grudge.
Days later, Lowell enters the airport terminal.
Lowell: Oh, Fay. Boy, I gotta tell you, I really enjoyed he performance of West Side Story last night.
Fay: Oh, thanks, Lowell, I’m glad you could make it.
Lowell: Oh, my pleasure. Say, who was that fellow playing Chino?
Fay: That’s Sidney Margolin, he’s 80 years old. Quite a little hoofer, isn’t he?
Lowell: Boy, I’ll say. I didn’t know they made orthopedic tap shoes.
Fay: Uh, those weren’t taps you heard. Those were his knees cracking.
Brian arrives, and walks over to the Aeromass counter.
Brian: Roy, Roy, uh, what time is your 4:45 expected in?
Roy: 4:45. It’s one of the funny little ways we do things here at Aeromass. Why?
Brian: Uh, my mother is on that flight.
Brian: Yeah, that’s right. I tracked her down, and now she’s comin’ here.
Helen: Well, did you tell Joe?
Helen: And how did he take it?
Brian: Ok, ok, I didn’t tell Joe. I lied. All right? You happy? You happy?
Roy on the P.A.: Announcing the arrival of Flight 22 form La Guardia. Aeromass, the preferred airline of vacationers, business executives, and our competitor’s mommies.
Brian: Well, this—this is—this is totally weird, I gotta tell you. Look, what—what if she’s disappointed in how I turned out?
Helen: Oh, Brian.
Brian: No, no, what if—
Helen: Of course she’ll be disappointed. Well, we all are, but she’s your mom. She’ll love you anyway. Here she comes.
Joe and Brian’s mother arrives.
Mrs. Hackett: Brian?
Mrs. Hackett smiles, sighs, and opens her arms.
Brian walks towards his mother, and hugs her.
Mrs. Hackett: Oh.
Helen is almost in tears at the sight of Brian and his mother being reunited.
Mrs. Hackett: Oh, look at you. You’re all grown up. Oh, you have your father’s eyes.
Brian: Oh, really? No wonder he didn’t like to drive at night.
Mrs. Hackett laughs.
Mrs. Hackett: That’s my Brian.
Mrs. Hackett hugs Brian again.
Brian: Oh, I missed you, mom.
Mrs. Hackett: Me too. I’ve dreamt of this moment for 18 years.
Brian: Wow. Really?
Mrs. Hackett sees Helen watching them.
Mrs. Hackett: Helen? Is that Helen Chapel?
Helen walks towards them.
Helen: Hi, Ms. Hackett.
Mrs. Hackett: Is it really you? Well, you were always a cute little girl, but now you’re positively glamorous.
Helen in the verge of tears hugs Mrs. Hackett.
Mrs. Hackett: Well, where’s Joe?
Brian: Uh, Helen, could you get us some coffee, please? Uh, come, uh. I guess I really should’ve told you this on the phone, but, uh.
Brian: Joe’s been pretty upset that you never got in touch with us all these years.
Mrs. Hackett: Well, I can’t blame him for that.
Brian and Mrs. Hackett sit at a table by the lunch counter.
Brian: Well, why didn’t you? I man, why didn’t you at least call us up, and tell us that you were ok?
Mrs. Hackett: Well, I wasn’t sure you wanted to hear from me after leaving you the way I did.
Brian: That was such a long time ago.
Helen arrives to serve Brian and Mrs. Hackett some snacks and coffee.
Mrs. Hackett: Well, there’s something else. Something I’m not very proud of that I didn’t want you to know.
Brian: What is it, mom? What have you been doin’ all these years?
Mrs. Hackett: I’ve been working in a laundry.
Brian: Oh, for Pete’s sake. Oh, Ms. Hackett…
Helen takes a sit to join Brian and Mrs. Hackett.
Brian: Oh, come on, you thought that we would be ashamed of you for working in a laundry? Oh, ma, you must really think we’re snobs.
Helen laughs. Brian stands up.
Brian: Hey, Joe, can you come out here?
Helen: Where was your laundry, Miss Hackett?
Mrs. Hackett: In the California State Penitentiary.
Brian stands up and calls out to Joe.
Brian: No rush!
Brian turns to his mother.
Brian: You did time? Up the river? In the big house? In the gray bar hotel?
Mrs. Hackett: I know you must be ashamed.
Brian: Are you kidding? This is the greatest thing that’s ever happened.
Brian stands up again.
Brian: Hey, everybody! Guess whose mom was in the slammer?! Huh?!
Helen: Ms. Hackett, did you really mean what you said?
Mrs. Hackett: Yes, I did.
Helen: You really think I look glamorous?
Mrs. Hackett: Oh! Yes!
Lowell walks over to Mrs. Hackett.
Lowell: Well, I guess I need no introduction.
Mrs. Hackett: Should I know you?
Lowell: Lowell. It says so right here.
Lowell points at his monogrammed overalls.
Mrs. Hackett: You’re the Mather boy. Aren’t you the one who got trapped under the ice at the Winter Carnival?
Lowell: For five hours. There was an article about me in Time magazine.
Mrs. Hackett: Well, it’s nice to see the color back in your cheeks.
Mrs. Hackett extends her hand. Lowell shakes her hand.
Brian: Oh, uh, ma.
Brian returns to his seat.
Brian: What’d they bust you for, huh?
Mrs. Hackett: Well, I was working as an accountant at a large bank in Sacramento, and I sort of embezzled $850,000.
Brian: $800—oh! What I’d give to go back to 5th grade, and show you off on career day, boy! So, uh, how long are you gonna stick around?
Mrs. Hackett: I gotta report back to my parole officer by tomorrow night. So, where did you say Joe was?
Brian: Well, Joe—
Brian: Well, ma, Jo-Joe and I don’t exactly have the same attitude about things.
Mrs. Hackett: You never did. You were always a free spirit, Brian. And Joe…
Mrs. Hackett turns to Helen.
Mrs. Hackett: And I say this with a mother’s love, Joe was tight-assed even in the womb.
Brian: Well, I—I—I really don’t know how Joe’s gonna take this prison thing.
Mrs. Hackett: Well, it’s such a short visit, and I’d like it to be a nice one. Maybe we shouldn’t tell him.
Brian: I think that’s a good idea, actually. I mean, come on.
Brian stands up.
Brian: Joe! Joe, uh, there’s, uh, somebody out here who wants to see you.
Brian and Mrs. Hackett waits outside Joe’s office. Joe steps out of his office.
Mrs. Hackett: Hello, sweetheart.
Mrs. Hackett: It’s great to see you. You look wonderful.
Joe: Thank you.
Brian: All the things I wanted to say, but I just didn’t know how.
Mrs. Hackett: Brian told me how well you’re doing owning your own airline. I’m so proud of you.
Brian: Oh, yeah. It’s doing pretty well. Uh, listen, Brian, I gotta get home. I’ve got a lot of paperwork I gotta go through.
Joe walks away. Brian tries to stop him.
Brian: Ok. Joe, Joe, come one, man. Don’t—don’t do this, ok? Now, look, the 3 of us can have dinner tonight? Just—just like old times.
Joe: Well, maybe she can’t stay for dinner.
Mrs. Hackett: Oh, I traveled all the way across the country for one night. I think I can fit it into my schedule, if it’s ok with you?
Joe: Just as easy to cook for three as it is for two.
Joe leaves. Brian smiles. Helen approaches Mrs. Hackett.
Helen: Excuse me, Ms. Hackett, I don’t mean to harp on this, but when you said that I looked glamorous, uh, was your point of reference Palm Springs or the State Pen?
Mrs. Hackett: Helen, I have the feeling that your dance card would be filled in either place.
Helen exclaims in delight.
Joe and Brian have dinner at their house with their mother.
Mrs. Hackett: This was a wonderful meal, Joe. You make a delicious meat loaf. What did you put in it?
Brian: Usually, great chefs don’t like to give out their secrets.
Mrs. Hackett: Well, it—it really was good. Do you have any more?
Joe stands up and rudely takes his mother’s plate, and Brian’s too. Joe walks over to the sink.
Joe: Sorry, I wasn’t expecting company.
Brian: All the way back in the womb, huh?
Mrs. Hackett: Can I help you with the dishes?
Joe: No thanks. I can manage. I had to learn.
Mrs. Hackett walks over to Joe.
Mrs. Hackett: Joe, I’d really like to talk to you.
Joe turns on the garbage disposal such that there’s a loud whirring sound.
Mrs. Hackett: As I was saying, I would really like to talk to you about—
Joe turns on the garbage disposal again.
Mrs. Hackett: Can you give me a break here?
Joe: Sure I can. You’re my mother. You took time out of your jet set life in Palm Springs just to visit us. It’s the least I can do.
Mrs. Hackett: Jet set life?
Brian: Come on, what’s it matter? I mean, let’s—let’s not dwell on the past. I say—
Joe: Yeah, you look like you did pretty well for yourself once you ditched us for life in the fast lane.
Brian: Why can’t we all be a family?
Mrs. Hackett: Life in the fast lane? Would you like to know where I’ve really been, Joe?
Brian: Hey, who wants to see me take out my own eyeball? Now, you gotta look quickly because, uh, I’ve never done it before.
Brian licks a spoon, and puts it under his right eye.
Joe: You know, I really don’t give a damn what you and your fancy West Coast friends have been up to.
Brian: See, that’s great. He doesn’t give a damn. That’s great. It’s settled who wants to have some ice cream?
Mrs. Hackett; Well, I wanna tell you anyway. It’s time you knew.
Brian: Come on, who wants chocolate? Who wants cherry, who wants to see me eat a mouse?
Mrs. Hackett: I have been in prison, Joe, for eight long years, doing laundry!
Joe is shocked.
Brian: Which is a break for us, Joe, because I’ve had a lot of static cling in my shorts lately.
Joe: And you were in jail?! It’s not enough you abandon us, you’re a felon!
Joe turns to Brian.
Joe: Did you know that?
Brian: Well, yeah, a little embezzlement, nothing serious. It’s not like she sold rap music or anything.
Joe: That is it. That is it! I didn’t want to see you in the first place, and now I really don’t want you in my house.
Brian: Oh, hey, hey. Come one. It’s my house, too, ok? And this is our mother, for Pete’s sake, and why are you acting this way?
Mrs. Hackett stands in a corner.
Joe: Hey, wait, wait, wait a minute—
Brian: Why are you shutting her out?
Joe: Hey, she left you, too, you know. You—you’re taking her back like nothing happened. Don’t you have any dignity, Brian?
Brian: Uh, no.
Joe: Well, you’d better get some. You’re really pathetic.
Mrs. Hackett tries to break off the fight between her boys.
Mrs. Hackett: Boys, boys, really. Really.
Brian: Who the hell are—
Mrs. Hackett: I don’t want you to fight.
Joe: Oh, well, look. Well, look who decided to play mother. What’re you—what’re you going to do?
Brian: Oh man.
Joe: Send me to my room? Ground me?
Brian: All right, stop it! Please! Come on, I just want us to be a family.
Joe: Aye, yeah, good. Great. Great. There.
Joe pushes Brian towards Mrs. Hackett.
Joe: There’s your family. There she is. I’m not staying under the same roof with her.
Joe walks out the kitchen.
Brian: Where are you going?
Joe slams the kitchen door then another door.
Mrs. Hackett: Oh God. So, now what?
Brian: Milk and cookies?
Brian rests his head on his mother’s shoulder.
Joe is at the hangar cleaning his plane. Mrs. Hackett arrives.
Mrs. Hackett: I knew you’d be here. When you were little the two things you loved most were airplanes and cleaning. So, I sort of put two and two together.
Joe remains silent, and continues to ignore his mother.
Mrs. Hackett: Oh, come on, Joe. We just can’t go on like this. You gotta say something some time.
Joe: All right. How about this? Why did you leave us?
Mrs. Hackett: Ooh! You went right to the lightning round, didn’t you?
Joe: What? Oh, I’m sorry, what, it’s not superficial enough for you? Ok. Well, uh, let’s see. How about the weather? Uh, it was raining the day you left. It was sunny the day I graduated from High School. Um, it was partly cloudy the day I took my first solo flight, and it was wet, miserable day the day that dad died. You want tomorrow’s forecast.
Mrs. Hackett: It can’t get any colder than tonight.
Joe takes a seat, and drinks a shot of alcohol.
Mrs. Hackett: All right, Joe, you want to know why I left? I’ll tell you why. Things weren’t going well between your father and me, but that was the least of it. I was suffocating here. I hated the cooking, and the cleaning, and the car pools, and the bridge clubs, and the P.T.A. meetings and the…and everything! Joe! I was just not cut out to be a mother.
Joe: Yes, but you had two little boys who loved you and needed you was that really so unbearable?
Mrs. Hackett: Yes, God help me, it was!
Joe: Wha—what?! Well, how, uh, how can you say that?!
Mrs. Hackett: Joe, you were part of my life, and I hated my life.
Joe: Yeah, well, I hated you! How does that feel, mom?! You know what you did to me? Who do you think got your job when you left? I was twelve years old. You left me with a sink full of dirty dishes and two kids to take care of, Brian and dad.
Mrs. Hackett: I’m sorry.
Joe: You know, I have taken crap my whole life for being too serious, for being a worrier. W-why do you think that is, huh? Why? Why?!
Mrs. Hackett: Joe, I don’t know what to say.
Joe: You know, yo-your life wasn’t perfect. Fine. You could’ve gotten a divorce. We could’ve moved, you could’ve hired a maid, switched to paper plates, I don’t know. Something, anything, but you didn’t have to leave us!
Mrs. Hackett: I did, Joe, and I’m really sorry.
Joe: Yeah, well, “sorry” does not cut it. “Sorry” does not give me back my childhood.
Joe walks away from his mother, and resumes cleaning his plane.
Mrs. Hackett: Look, I think we’re all agreed here nobody’s gonna nominate me for mother of the year. I know what I did hurt you and Brian, but I can’t change what happened. The best I can do is try and make a new start. How about it, Joe?
Joe remains silent, and ignores his mother.
Mrs. Hackett: Well, goodbye, then.
Mrs. Hackett starts to walk way.
Joe: I uh, thought that you left because I broke your pitcher.
Mrs. Hackett: What?
Joe: You know that, uh, antique pitcher that grandma gave you?
Mrs. Hackett: How could you think that?
Joe: I’d never seen you so mad.
Mrs. Hackett: Yeah, but about so many other things.
Joe: I didn’t know that. So, I went to school, and uh, I made you another pitcher out of clay so you wouldn’t be mad at me anymore. Only when I got home, you were gone.
Mrs. Hackett starts to cry.
Mrs. Hackett: Oh God. Oh, Joe, you poor little guy.
Mrs. Hackett walks towards Joe.
Joe: Hey, that was a long time ago.
Joe walks away from her.
Joe: It’s done. Long gone. Forgotten. So, you want it?
Mrs. Hackett: What?
Joe walks inside his office, pulls out a drawer, and takes out the clay pitcher he made when he was twelve.
Joe shows it to his mother.
Mrs. Hackett: You kept it all those years?
Joe: Uh, you never know. People come back.
Mrs. Hackett takes the clay pitcher.
Mrs. Hackett: Oh, Joey. It’s the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.
Joe: Yeah. Isn’t it? I really stank at pottery.
Joe tries to take it back. Mrs. Hackett pulls it away.
Mrs. Hackett: Not on your life. It’s never leaving me.
Mrs. Hackett puts it inside her suit pocket.
Joe: What do you say? One for old time’s sake?
Joe offers her mother alcohol.
Mrs. Hackett: Sure.
Joe pours her a drink, and hands her the mug.
Mrs. Hackett: It’s too bad we didn’t share a drink back then.
Joe: I was twelve years old.
Mrs. Hackett: Well, Brian seemed to like it. Well, just a little in his milk sometimes to help him sleep. I told you, I was a lousy mother.
Mrs. Hackett and Joe toast their glasses.
Mrs. Hackett: I can’t ask you to forgive me, Joe. I can’t even ask you to understand. I probably don’t deserve anything from you, but I’m gonna ask for something anyhow.
Joe: What’s that?
Mrs. Hackett: A hug.
Joe thinks for a while then gives his mother a cold hug. A short while after, Joe finally gives his mother a warmer hug that of a forgiving son. Their tight embrace caused the clay pitcher to break. Mrs. Hackett pulls out a broken piece of clay from her pocket.
Mrs. Hackett: Oh.
Joe: I could always make you another one.
Mrs. Hackett laughs.
Mrs. Hackett: Oh, please, don’t.
The following day, Brian and Joe arrive at the airport terminal.
Joe: You know, Brian, I’m really, really glad you asked mom to visit us.
Brian: Yeah, well, I’m really glad that you guys made up. I mean, it was really comforting having her over at the house. She even made me a glass of warm milk before I went to bed.
Brian: Oh, yeah, slept like a baby.
Joe: Well, that’s a mother’s touch.
Helen: You know, Joe, I’ve been thinking about your family. Your father went crazy. Your mother abandoned you as children and ended up in prison. Your brother stole your fiancée, ran off with her and got married then she dumped him and ran off with somebody else. You know, if you just gouged your eyes out, you’d have the perfect Greek tragedy.
Joe: You really think we’re that different from other families?
Brian puts something to cover his eyes, and pretends to be blind.
Brian: Ma! Ma, it’s me, Oedipus!
Joe: I withdraw the question.
This is not the actual script. This is my own transcription of the episode. The “Mother Wore Stripes” episode was written by David Lloyd. Wings is owned by CBS Studios Inc., Paramount Pictures and Grub Street Productions.
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