|“||I'm a good multi-tasker, Mama!||„|
|~ Mary-Ellen to Olivia in The Hunt|
In the early seasons, Mary-Ellen was a tomboy drama queen: she always wanted everything to go her way and was constantly teased by her brothers for this. She would play baseball with the boys, and would often get into fights with other kids. She had aspirations to become rich, famous, and have the ability to travel anywhere in the world, leaving the "boring lifestyle" on Walton's Mountain behind. But, as she got older and she graduated from high school, she realized that her dream of becoming a nurse was the most important to her and so she stayed on Waltons mountain and pursued her nursing career.
In 1938, a year after she entered nursing school, Mary Ellen fell in love and became engaged to David Spencer, an intern at the hospital she worked in. Six weeks after their engagement, Mary- Ellen called off the engagement after becoming attracted to the new doctor on Waltons Mountain, Dr. Curtis Willard. Mary- Ellen also realized that she was marrying David Spencer for the wrong reasons and that her love for him was not enough to get them through the hard times in life, as well as the good times.
About a week after breaking her engagement with David Spencer, Dr. Curtis Willard, the new doctor, proposes to Mary- Ellen in front of the whole Walton clan. Although she didn't say 'yes' outright, Mary-Ellen accepts his proposal and a few weeks later, in April 1938 after her eighteenth birthday, marries Dr. Curtis Willard in "The Wedding" episode.
Two years after her marriage to Curt, in July 1940, Mary- Ellen gives birth to a healthy son, John-Curtis Willard, her only child with Curt. Approximately one month after the birth of John-Curtis, Curt was called to serve in the army as a doctor. After hearing this news, Mary-Ellen became hurt and afraid of being away from her husband and that something bad might happen to him. Mary-Ellens parents, John and Olivia Walton, see that Mary'Ellen is going through a difficult time and as a result bring her and John-Curtis to come and live with them, until curt returns from the army. Curt stayed in the army until September 1941, when he was transferred to Pearl Harbor Hawaii, and three months later Mary-Ellen was notified that Curt was killed while treating members of the US army. However, four years later, in October 1945, just after Mary-Ellen became engaged to her future husband, Jonesy, a woman claiming to know her late husband Curt, says that Curt is still alive and now lives in Florida. Mary-Ellen finds out this is true and visits curt in Florida and comes to the realization that she and curt could never be in love again and that he did not want anything do with Mary-Ellen or their son again, and so she and Curt arrange a divorce. Two years later, In March 1947, Mary-Ellen and Jonesy get married and have two children, Clay Matthew Jones, and Katie Jones, together.
Despite her vibrant personality, Mary-Ellen becomes extremely mature in later seasons, often being the voice of reason behind her siblings.