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 – CCCXXIV. Difficult Beginnings (7 of 15)

Despite the need to take any job that would put food on my table; living in a small apartment with roommates; and dealing with the implacable cold; I recall this period of my life with great fondness.

I was part of a group who had already immigrated once; settled with great difficulties in a new country; decided that there was something better out there; left the familiar behind; and once more ventured into a new and challenging land.

Being with those former Israelis held a special magic for me.  We were all young, optimistic, sure of ourselves, and determined to succeed.  And you know what?  In time, we all did well; none of us expressed any regrets, and certainly no desire to go back.

But enough of waxing poetic; this part of my recitation is meant to describe how we entertained ourselves during that period.

Nessim (nickname:  Nisso) and his wife Laurette often invited us in their apartment to spend the evening.  Now remember that we were as poor as church mice:  The apartment in question was largely bare:  A table and a few chairs; a basic bedroom, and a kitchen with the bare minimum of implements.

This therefore was not a formal invitation, more of a get-together.  We sat on the floor in the carpeted living room; we brought our own food and drink; listened to music or watched television; and above all talked of our years in Israel, and our day to day life in Canada.  And we loved it!  Even after all those years, I can see myself sitting on the floor in that living room and having the time of my life.

I said “we;” who therefore were the attendees:  Robert and his wife Margot; Jacques and his wife Mary; Laurette’s parents who were the only ones using the available chairs; Foufou, Alfred, and I. In time, other Israelis joined our group, but by then there were plenty of chairs, a larger table, and a sofa.

We did go to another place, this time an established household.  Ellie had introduced me to his sister Aliza, and her husband Amos.  After Ellie left for Vancouver, she insisted that I keep in touch.  They had been in Canada for a few years and wanted to befriend other Israelis.  It took a while before I contacted them for so many things were going on.  They extended a warm invitation to come for supper; I diplomatically asked if my two flatmates could come along; “of course,” was their response.

And so, on a Saturday night, Foufou, Alfred, and I went to their home.  They treated us like royalty, and expressed their joy to have other Israelis under their roof.

Amos had a movie camera with super-8 mm film; thus he filmed us and we got a chance to see ourselves “acting.”  This for us was a new experience; such cameras were available in Israel, but were prohibitively expensive.

Ultimately, the highlight of the evening was not their warm hospitality, nor the chance to get filmed; it was getting together with brethren tied together (in this case) by religion and nationality.  We all know that humans crave the company of other folks; what is less known is the fact that for a group, a common denominator gives a special aura to that assembly.

Aliza and Amos insisted that I put them in touch with other Israelis; and I did.  And on a couple of occasions we all gathered in their home; and, yes, Amos filmed that cast of thousand!

Not far from my home was the Van Horne Theatre who brought second run movies at absurdly low prices.  This for me became a cheap source of entertainment, and I rarely missed a movie.  I did go by myself for Foufou and Alfred were not movie amateurs.

We availed ourselves of other forms of entertainment.  I will talk about that next.

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