What is Love?

I watched a smarmy romantic comedy last night, and for some reason it reminded me of a smarmy scene in a play I once wrote that was lost in a housefire in 1998. I have the scripts of the rest of the play, but this scene was lost altogether.

Without going into details, the scene is this: there’s a girls-only party at the restaurant owned by the bride’s family, and the friends of the bride are a little inhibited by the presence of the “maiden” aunts.

So then the bride opens a present from the groom’s old girlfriend: a case of size C batteries. Ha, ha, ha.

Then one of the “maiden” aunts begins to talk about her life, how love is where you find it, how she’s not going to (in my grandmother’s words) “die wondering,” and in this way she gains the confidence of the bride and her friends.

My grandmother, Esther Kimball Hartshorne Megargee, aka Essie, who really inspired this scene, had an apt expression for everything. A gay man was a “confirmed bachelor,” and she had a funny limerick about “William Fitzpatrick” and “Patrick Fitzwilliam.”

Essie also liked the joke her friend who went to Gloucester every week to get scrod.

So the “maiden” aunt tells a story of when she was a little girl and was left alone at home with her mother’s sister, while her sisters went to a ball, and she was too young to go. She has heard her sisters talking about love while they got ready, and she’s curious, and she asks her auntie, “What is love?”

I had names for all these people at the time, and I can’t recollect them all, but the “maiden” aunt takes the little girl upon her knee and explains that all her sisters and all their beaux will live out their entire lives without ever knowing what love really is.

“If you want to know what love is, come here, child, and I will show you,” and she gives the little girl a big hug.

“That’s what it feels like,” she says. “Once you know it, you’ll never forget it.”

So if you never get to see ‘Neath Greenville Tower’ in its grand entirety, at least you know the most poignant scene.