To Have and To Hold

Institute History


TO HAVE AND TO HOLD is the story of a slightly wacky, thoroughly iconoclastic family as told through the eyes of Meg, the oldest of four children. It is about how a child can become the parent, and the intensity of a family's love, the kind of love that is forced to withstand enormous pain.

Sam, Meg's father, pursues the seemingly unrealistic goal of becoming a great Broadway composer and lyricist. Her mother, Kate, both the catalyst and the inspiration for the family's eccentric life, believes passionately in Sam's dream. She begs, borrows, and steals to keep their dream alive.

As the story evolves, Meg witnesses her parent's marriage in all its complexity and falls victim, as all the children do, to the vicissitudes of their problems. She and her siblings, Jeb, Izzy, and Nick, try very hard to figure out the meaning of the quixotic life they live, perennially moving in search of a cheaper life, changing schools with abandon, stealing food (with their mother's help), or lying whenever it might make things easier. The years pass. The children grow. Sam's dreams seem further away than ever.

It is during this time that Sam has an affair. Although the psychic wounds are there, Meg senses that her parents' love will win out. But, it is the tragic death of her brother, Jeb, that brings the family closer together again as they must find the resources to begin the healing process.

Just when everyone is at their lowest, Sam's musical, which has endured years of work, opens on Broadway and is a great success. Although there is a sense that the loss is irrevocable, the love of the family endures and unlike everything else, seems immutable.


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