Maeve and Mary Sew Mary's Wedding Lace
(June 1976)

(Mary is sewing wistfully in the Ryans' living room when Maeve enters the room.)

MAEVE: Why such a sad face?

MARY: Oh, not sad. (smiles) I was just wondering.

MAEVE: Well, while you're sitting there wondering, why don't you run this lace around the edge of this handkerchief?

MARY: What's it for?

MAEVE: No respectable bride would go to an altar without a handkerchief, in case she got a little dust in her eye. Awww, it should have been blue!

MARY: Why?

MAEVE: Well, you have something old - my blouse; you have something new - this skirt; you have something borrowed - your Aunt Maura's wedding veil; and now you need something blue! If we're going to do this wedding, we should do it right.

MARY: Well, we'll find something else blue. (pause, while they sew in silence) Ma?

MAEVE: Hmmm, darling?

MARY: I was just wondering, do you think Frank and Kathleen and Pat and Siobhan used to think they were your favorite too?

MAEVE: (shocked) I beg your pardon!

MARY: Oh, I know all that stuff you used to tell us about loving us equally, but differently, each for him or herself.

MAEVE: Well, that was true, as far as it went. Children don't like things complicated.

MARY: And I never minded sharing you with Frank, because what was Frank's was mine and vice versa for all those years. And I knew you depended on Kathleen because she was so responsible. Patrick made you laugh, Siobhan was the baby. But you know, I always believed, deep down inside, that I was the one you really loved best, and it just occurred to me: I bet they all felt the same way too! How did you ever manage it?

MAEVE: Well, I don't know. I hope it's true. I mean, it probably helps us all to start out in life believing that our mothers think we're the most splendid person in the world. So many things things happen to us later in life. (shakes her head, painfully) But you know, darling, it's true, you are very special to me. I think that's because we're so much alike.

MARY: (smiles) You think we are?

MAEVE: Oh, are we ever! (laughs) That's why I got so mad at you; I'd get madder at you than I would at Kathleen or Siobhan. Your faults and failures were always my faults and failures. The thing that upsets us most, I think, in other people are the things we dislike in ourselves. Oh, your adolescence (Mary looks horrified at the thought) was perfectly awful! (Mary laughs.) I found myself staring myself in the eye. I wonder, how did we ever survive it?

MARY: I know how. In the end, you trusted me.

MAEVE: Well, you know what my mother used to say about that.

MARY: Hmmm?

MAEVE: She used to say, "It's easy to break rules, it's harder to break trust."

MARY: Your mother was right, and that's exactly why I think it's all gonna be alright for Jack and me in the end. I trust him to love me enough. He knows that I trust him, and he won't break trust. You know, once we're passed the actual marriage, I think everything's gonna be fine.

MAEVE: Darling, you keep saying that. What's fine?

MARY: Well I have a very clear idea in my head of what life with Jack is gonna be like. I wonder if it's anywhere near right!

MAEVE: Well it's not as if you're buying a pig in a poke, you know.

MARY: (laughs) That's true.

MAEVE: How do you see it?

MARY: Well, both of us working and loving what we do. Me learning a lot from him, because he's really very generous about sharing what he knows.

MAEVE: (while holding the needle in her mouth) I think most men are, aren't they?

MARY: (laughs) Hmmm, going with him when he's covering stories where I wouldn't be in the way. (Mary gets up, puts down her needlework, and walks over and sits next to Maeve.) Entertaining a little - his friends from the paper, city government, sports people he hangs around with. But, I don't know, just being together, that's the best part of it. (Maeve puts her arm around Mary.) Staying in bed all morning on weekends with the paper, a pot of espresso, hugging and kissing, just loving each other.

MAEVE: And do you see all this happening in Jack's same apartment?

MARY: Well for the time being, anyway. It's small, but it's wonderful. I love the river - the foghorns, the ships!

MAEVE: And what about children?

MARY: Oh, I don't think right away.

(Maeve is silent and tries to hide her disapproval, as the conversation pauses and they sew in silence for a while.)

MARY: Before you and Da got married, did you have any idea what it would be like?

MAEVE: Oh, yes! And nothing turned out the way I expected it.

MARY: Oh really?

MAEVE: (laughs) How could I, at sixteen, imagine what New York City would be like? I'd been once to Dublin, twice to Cork. I'd spent all my life in a place where my family and friends and school and church were all within a half hour's distance, along roads that I knew as well as I knew the back of my own hand! I knew all the trees and all the stones, and six generations of the neighbors' animals. The whole parish knew me. Hmmm...there was no way in the world for me to imagine, what life across an ocean was going to be like. Except for one thing.

MARY: What was that?

MAEVE: (nods) I knew John Ryan, and I knew that he loved me. (Mary smiles.) Oh, I hope that your life with Jack is everything that you think it's going to be, and more.

MARY: But you're still worried, aren't you, Ma?

MAEVE:'s a mother's job to worry. You be happy.

(Maeve smiles reassuringly, and Mary smiles briefly, but the scene ends with Mary looking a lot more worried than Maeve did.)

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