Born in March 1954, Opie Taylor is the son of widowed father, Andy Taylor.
Little is known about his mother other than the fact she passed away when he was very young. Andy tells him, "I lost your mom when you was just the least little speck of a baby." She apparently had no relatives in Mayberry such as parents or siblings as Opie never mentions grandparents or aunts and uncles except those on his father's side.
We first meet Opie when he enters the Mayberry Courthouse upset his pet turtle, Wilford, was stepped on and killed by "Mrs. Balford" in front of the ice cream parlor. He wants Andy to arrest her for 'murder', give her a fair trial and "hang her." Andy tries to help Opie deal with the loss by telling Opie about how things were when his 'ma' died. Opie listens to the story then looks to Andy and says, "Who stepped on Ma?"
When Opie was six years old, Andy's Aunt Bee returns to Mayberry via Morgantown, West Virginia at Andy's invitation in order to manage the Taylor household after the Taylor's housekeeper Rose married and moved away. Opie takes a dislike to Aunt Bee based upon his grief at losing his beloved Rose but he does secretly enjoy Aunt Bee's cooking.
After discovering that she can neither play baseball nor fish, Opie declares that he will never love her. The final straw comes when she accidentally lets his pet bird, Dickie, escape. Dickie did return, in time, but a disheartened Aunt Bee chose to leave. In a surge of empathy, Opie begs Andy to let her stay because she doesn't know how to do anything on her own.
Father and son
Opie's relationship with his "Pa", Andy, is an example to father's everywhere.
Andy teaches Opie the value of responsibility and parenthood after Opie accidentally kills a mother bird with his slingshot and leaves her three babies orphaned. Andy underscored the loss by opening Opie's bedroom window so he could hear the baby birds calling for their mother who will never come home. Opie takes the responsibility to care for the birds and names them "Wynken, Blynken, and Nod." He nurtured them until they are ready to be released into the wild.
Andy would at times misjudge Opie, suspecting him of being selfish and oblivious to the needs of the less fortunate. Andy would normally discover that Opie had been self-sacrificing and generous. For example, one time Opie forfeits a grocery store delivery job to allow a boy with an ill father to replace him because the boy's family had bills. On another occasion, Opie reveals that he used his savings to buy a friend a winter coat after Andy had lambasted him for contributing only three cents to the Under Privileged Children's Fund. Another time, Opie founds $50 and gets to keep it because is went unclaimed. Later Opie meets the man who lost it the change purse containing the money.. Andy assumes that Opie spent all the money, but Opie decided to give it back to the rightful owner since he realized that he couldn't be happy with the money since it wasn't really his.
When not visiting his father at the courthouse, Opie would sometimes get into jams. Some of his juvenile misdeeds include: trespassing in a neighbor's barn, selling Miracle Salve to the citizens of Mayberry; accidentally destroying Aunt Bee's prize rose; concealing an abandoned baby in his clubhouse; tricking Goober Pyle into thinking a shaggy dog can speak, and starting his own tell-all community newspaper.
For all his boyish misgivings, Opie is always honest and truthful with his father, sometimes to his own detriment. Once, Opie described a utility worker named Mr. McBeevey he met in the woods. Andy thought it was an imaginary friend and tried to convince Opie of it; but, Mr. McBeevey was real and Opie maintained his story despite facing certain discipline from Andy. Another time, a runaway boy asked Opie not to disclose his whereabouts. Having previously learned the value of confidentiality from Andy, Opie refused to tell his father who the boy was rather than lie, or break a confidence, much to Andy's chagrin.
Opie's best friend when he was young was Johnny Paul Jason; as he grew older, Arnold Bailey who is the Doctor's son moved in to the best friend slot of Opie's life. He also has several other friends during his childhood including Howie Pruitt. Opie's new friend Trey Bowden provokes Opie's jealousy when Andy takes a liking to Trey and invites him along on outings. Other new friends sometimes prove unworthy. One friend, for instance, encourages Opie to throw tantrums at home to get his way.
Opie joined a secret club and was made Keeper of the Flame for the club. The boys trespassed in a farmer's barn and when the barn later burns to the ground, Opie is blamed.
Opie one time hooked up with a boy that plays a mean trick on Goober making him believe his dog could talk. Both boys are taken to task by Andy for their mischief making.
Opie is respectful and friendly to adults in Mayberry. He spends time at the filling station hanging out with Goober and the two often share their comic books.
Opie has several girlfriends in his youth including, Karen Burgess and, in his teens, Mary Alice Carter. He also developed crushes on Barney Fife's sweetheart Thelma Lou and on his father's sweetheart Helen Crump but grew out of both fairly quickly.
During his teens, Opie had a few jobs around Mayberry. He worked in the drug store, and as a delivery boy at the grocery store. He also played in a rock band with his friends and had a paying gig at a teen party. Later, Opie makes college plans with dentistry as his career choice but moved away from that choice in the end to become a journalist.
Opie's married wife Eunice Taylor gave birth to their first child in 1986 with his father, Andy, delivering the baby boy.
Opie was the publisher and editor of Mayberry's newspaper, "The County Courier Express". He was offered a job at the Binghamton Post newspaper in New York but Andy suggested he sleep on it before making the decision....reminding him of those baby birds he had raised years ago. Sometimes it's time to leave the nest.