Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Canada – CCCV. New York (1 of 4)

On July 6, 1964, I boarded an El Al airplane that was taking me to my new life.  Before going to Canada, I stopped in New York for three days.  There was no question of visiting this fabled city, for I had neither the money nor the time.  My objective was to spend some time with relatives I had there:  uncle Joseph, aunt Esther, and their son Raymond; and to visit the 1964 New York`s World Fair.

(Both Joseph and Esther were not really my uncle and aunt; they both were the first cousins of my mother; but out of respect, I always referred to them as uncle and aunt)

Early on I have talked about those relatives; since I was now visiting them, and would in the future see them from time to time, a recapitulation is in order.

As a child, Joseph left a deep impression on me.  He was an amazing raconteur with a sense of humor that was second to none.  He was a connoisseur in food and drink; he could eat anything with a grace that cannot be taught; you`re either born with it, or you`re not.

He first married Alice and had three daughters with her:  Adrienne, Simone, and Mireille.  One day, as both were out, Alice started crossing the street and Joseph to his horror, noticed that a car was bearing down on her; he opened his mouth to warn her, but it was too late.

A grief-stricken Joseph was left with three young children; Adrienne the oldest was only 6.

When a door closes, another one opens; and through that door walked Esther, for us children she was the much-beloved tante Esterina.  Joseph and Esther had two children:  Claudie and Raymond.

When we all left Egypt, this branch of the family immigrated to the U.S.:  Joseph, Esther, Claudie, Raymond, Simone and her husband, and Mireille and her husband immigrated to the U.S.  The exception was Adrienne; together with her husband Victor, and their three young children, they went to Canada.  As we shall see, Adrienne and Victor proved invaluable to me during my early months in Canada.

I am now in a taxi who is trying to figure out where Blake Street in Brooklyn is.  After questioning many people, and calling his headquarters, he eventually takes me to my destination.

It was a grand reunion of course; we haven`t seen each other in many years; indeed, since we went in different directions, we were destined to never meet again; but my immigration to Canada changed all that.

I should mention that Claudie having been married, I was received by the remaining members of the family:  Esther, Joseph, and Raymond (we mostly called him by his nickname of Rèmi).

During supper, our conversation revolved about what happened during the years we were separated.  I had a lot of questions and so did they.  However, it soon became obvious that we were never going to catch up on seven years in one night.  I would be there for two full days, time enough to get the highlights of our respective lives during those years.

Therefore, while enjoying our desserts, we settled down to watch television.  For me this was a treat for I had no television in Israel.  Two small issues presented themselves:  My somewhat limited English and the fact that the programs were interrupted in the middle to show advertising.

For me, it was heresy to interrupt an ongoing program!  In my only exposure to television in Italy, there was advertising only at the beginning and at the end of a program.

Rèmi advised me that first of all these breaks were called commercials; that they were not numerous; and that they were the only source of revenue for the station, for television was free.  If they were shown at the beginning and at the end only, people would ignore them.  What did assuage me was that during those lulls, Rèmi filled the gaps that resulted from my limited English.  Whatever the case, the family found my reaction amusing.

We retired early; for, on the following day, Joseph had to go to work, Rèmi (a university student) had to attend his classes, and finally, I was exhausted after my long voyage.

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