As Romance authors we concern ourselves with Happily Ever After, and in some cases Happily For Now. Often we also delve into what love is really all about. I’m reminded of the original “Yours, Mine, and Ours” with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda–a MUST see for anyone who loves a good story. You have a Navy Widower (Frank Beardsley) with 10 kids marrying a Navy Widow (Helen North) with 8 kids, and now she’s giving birth to “their” first. Her daughter, Colleen, has been dating a pushy young man (Larry) who wants her to “prove” her love. This scene is after one of Frank’s sons has discouraged the boyfriend.
“Colleen North: [Helen is about to have a baby] I know this is a terrible time to talk about it, but Larry says…
Frank Beardsley: I’ve got a message for Larry. You tell him this is what it’s all about. This is the real happening. If you want to know what love really is, take a look around you.
Helen North: What are you two talking about?
Frank Beardsley: Take a good look at your mother.
Helen North: Not now!
Frank Beardsley: Yes, now.
Frank Beardsley: It’s giving life that counts. Until you’re ready for it, all the rest is just a big fraud. All the crazy haircuts in the world won’t keep it turning. Life isn’t a love in, it’s the dishes and the orthodontist and the shoe repairman and… ground round instead of roast beef. And I’ll tell you something else: it isn’t going to a bed with a man that proves you’re in love with him; it’s getting up in the morning and facing the drab, miserable, wonderful everyday world with him that counts.
[Leaving the house, they say good-bye to the little kids]
Frank Beardsley: I suppose having 19 kids is carrying it a bit too far, but if we had it to do over who would we skip… you?
Helen North: [getting into the car] Thank you, Frank. I never quite knew how to explain it to her.
Frank Beardsley: If we don’t get you to the hospital fast, the rest of it’s going to be explained right here.”
This scene by these actors was a marvel of timing and delivery (oops, no pun intended). In a lot of ways it helped shape what I see as romance. I realize for some people the more drama the better, but there comes a day when the washboard stomach and superior pecs give way to gravity. At that point, we need to believe our characters will have something else to fall back on instead of their good looks and witty repartee.