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 – CCCXVIII. Difficult Beginnings (1 of 15)

I landed my first job 3 weeks after my arrival in Canada.  You might say that I was lucky, and perhaps I was; the problem though that it was a few notches below what I was aiming for.  Nevertheless, as a newcomer, I couldn`t afford to be too demanding.

The ad was titled “Sample Maker.”  A textile company was looking for an individual to prepare the swatches to be used by the salesmen of the company to sell the different lines.  The job required an individual who was relatively strong; had a good eye for colors and patterns; and was well organized.  I fulfilled the last criterion, but I was neither strong nor did I have any real affinity for preparing attractive swatches.

Montrose Worsted Mills was a company that manufactured fine worsted fabric for men’s suits.  The company was established in 1941 in Granby and terminated its operations in 1980.  Its administration, warehouse, and sales office were in downtown Montreal.  Needless to say, I didn’t know any of that the day I came for my interview.

The person in charge, Joseph (mostly referred to by his nickname of Joe) was amiable and made me feel at ease in the course of a long interview.  He had been in charge of the warehouse, and sample making for a number of years.  The billing and inventory control was managed by another individual, Gerry.  The business had greatly expanded over the last year, and Joe needed help to prepare the required samples.

I was frank and readily admitted that I didn’t possess any artistic talent, nor was I particularly strong.  Joe was willing to teach me; I was not expected to produce perfect swatches on short order.  He was also willing to help me bring the fabric rolls to the cutting table.

The weekly salary of $50.00 was good, but for that salary I was expected to work 5½ days a week.  Was I interested?  When I indicated that I was, he took me to meet one of the owners, Mr. Israel (two brothers had founded this enterprise), and his cousin and manager, Harold.  Both had many questions, and I was put through the wringer.  Harold mentioned that the job had been advertised before and that there have been many applicants, but none of them were suitable.  Israel wanted an honest and reliable individual, and he felt that I was that person.  The three of them were quite intrigued that I had just come from Israel, and asked many questions about that country.

I left an hour later with the promise that I would hear from them sometime within the next two to three days.  But on that same night, Joe called me and asked whether I could come and start next Monday.  Of course I said yes.

Parallel to securing employment, I was looking for a place to live.  A friend of Adrienne put me in touch with an Israeli young man, Ellie, who was looking for a suitable roommate to share his apartment.  I met with Ellie, visited his dwelling, discussed the conditions, and paid my first month rent.

The apartment was situated on Côte des Neiges on top of a store where prosthetic limbs were manufactured.  The owner, Slawner, was the landlord.  In effect, he owned the whole block:  another store, and two apartments, ours and another one who was presently vacant.

The house was previously occupied by an old couple, and Ellie was their boarder.  When they decided to move to Victoria, they asked Ellie if he was willing to take over their home; they were going to leave him all their furniture; Ellie readily agreed.  In turn, he went looking for another person to share his place.

Both of us got along well; and he provided me with much needed advice to help me manage my day to day life in my new country.

Alas, shortly after I moved in, Ellie who was getting tired of the harsh Montreal winters decided to move to Vancouver; there the winters were milder and they didn`t get as much snow.  This, of course, meant that I was losing a good friend and would need to look for another flatmate.

Many Israelis had come during that period; thus when I put the word out, I had no problem finding another boarder.  Fouad (a.k.a. Foufou) was an Iraqi who came to Israel at a young age.  He proved to be an ideal roommate and would be of great help during those turbulent times.  I will talk of him later on.

Indeed, I found a tenant for the vacant apartment of Slawner.  Another Israeli                 couple, Edmond and Alizah, were delighted to secure accommodations next to us.

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