Mary and Kathleen Discuss How Marriages Last
(June 1976)

(Mary is sewing her wedding dress in the living room when Kathleen enters the room.)

KATHLEEN: Would you like some help with that?

MARY: Oh, I'd love it! There are just a few yards left to go.

KATHLEEN: Last minute Mare!

MARY: Hey, listen, I had to put everything off, because of what was happening at work. And then I was so happy I had. Aunt Maura sent me her lace wedding veil, which grandmother made the year I was born.

KATHLEEN: Ma showed it to me last night. It's lovely.

MARY: Isn't it? And then I remembered that Gran had made Mother's blouse, too. One thing led to another, and Ma offered to turn the blouse into a dress, which I'd a million times rather have than something made by someone I don't even know.

KATHLEEN: It's interesting.

MARY: What? What is?

KATHLEEN: You have a much greater sense of who you are than I did when I married Art.

MARY: Oh, Kass, I wasn't making comparisons about the dress! Your wedding dress was beautiful!

KATHLEEN: Of course you weren't, but the wedding dress is a good case in point. I was so concerned about how I thought a bride was expected to look.

MARY: By whom?

KATHLEEN: My friends, Mother and Da, the neighbors - it was all by the book and perfectly organized, and I would have been terrified at the idea of getting married in Mother's old blouse and a homemade skirt. Isn't that sad?

MARY: This is the first time in our lives it's ever occurred to me you might be afraid of anything!

KATHLEEN: I was always afraid.

MARY: Of what?

KATHLEEN: Oh, of making a mistake. I took that steady, reliable Kathleen stuff very seriously.

MARY: But you don't anymore?

KATHLEEN: Of course I do! But I'm a little less compulsive about it than I used to be.

MARY: Why is that?

KATHLEEN: Mainly because of Art.

MARY: (smiles) Really?

KATHLEEN: Arthur is sometimes so boring. (Mary laughs.) But he's the gentlest, most generous man in the world, and much more right for me than I knew when I married him.

MARY: Oh, I hope I can say that about Jack six years from now.

KATHLEEN: Well, with a little luck, you will.

MARY: Luck!

KATHLEEN: Mary, love is important, and you have to work at it, but I'm beginning to think the essential ingredient in a happy marriage is luck. I mean it. You grow and he grows, and you change and he changes, and really, what's to keep you from growing in opposite directions?

MARY: Oh, I don't know, mutual interests?

KATHLEEN: Interests change. In the beginning you both care about the children and tennis and guitar and poetry and sex, right? But then, just when you get your back hand going, he drops tennis and takes up golf, because his new boss is into golf. And you find yourself in conflict over that, and it throws everything else a little out of balance too, and all because of chance. He got promoted, and his new boss likes golf.

MARY: You have changed!

KATHLEEN: For the better, I hope, and Art's changed too. And fortunately, we're still headed in the same direction.

MARY: I'm glad. (pause) Kass? Why are you telling me all this?

KATHLEEN: Maybe because I'd like you to tell me a little about you?

MARY: There you are, setting the good example! You faker, you haven't changed at all! (They laugh.) Well, did Ma tell you anything about Da and Jack?

KATHLEEN: Mmmm, a little.

MARY: And you're worried about me.

KATHLEEN: Well I thought it was sad when he left the party last night.

MARY: Art would never have done that, would he?


MARY: Well, to tell you the truth, I wouldn't mind if Jack were a little more like Art in some ways. It really has been awful, Kass! But I think it's gonna be better from now on.

KATHLEEN: May I say one thing, which you should feel perfectly free to ignore?

MARY: Oh, sure.

KATHLEEN: Marriage really doesn't solve problems, it just intensifies them.

MARY: But basically, the problem is he really doesn't believe I won't walk out on him. So once he knows I won't, the problem won't be there anymore.

KATHLEEN: How will he know?

MARY: Well, he understands that I believe you get married once, for always.


MARY: Kathleen? I'm okay, honey. Everything's gonna be alright!

KATHLEEN: Oh, I hope, so! I sure hope so.

(She goes over and hugs Mary. The scene ends as they laugh and hug.)

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