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 -CCCXXXV. Wedding Bells (3 of 8)

What were my first impressions?  Because she wore almost no make-up, she came across as plain-looking; she was also very thin.  I had no doubt that she had a good mind; a person that would enrich my life (and that she did in spade during our life together) and stand by my side during good and bad times.

When I came back to Montreal, I discussed my concerns with Foufou.  He assured me that first of all most women put on weight after they give birth to their first child.  Having disposed of this weighty matter, Foufou then went on to assure me that most women became prettier after they married.

Wise Foufou!  He turned out to be right on both counts.  My wife did put on some weight after our daughter Rita was born, and she did get prettier as the years went by.  By the age of 30 she was an attractive woman, and even after 8 years of marriage, she often managed to take my breath away.

I was impressed by her parents; Norma no doubt had an impressive lineage.  The fact that both of them worked in a knitting factory was no reflection on them; they were strangers in a foreign land, and they did the best they could under the circumstances.

Let us now look at the other side of the fence.

These were Norma’s first impressions as she related them to me at a later date.  She found me quite handsome but rather introverted.  My taste in dressing left a lot to be desired.  The suit I wore was ill fitting and we dubbed it the “Bar Mitzvah suit;” out of sentimentality we kept it for many years!

Her parents liked me and found my Egyptian background rather intriguing.  They were concerned by the fact that I did not make a decent salary.  Their apprehension was somewhat alleviated by the fact that I had potential.  That said, they wondered how we would manage until I got my accounting degree.  Their unease was not misplaced; for many years we were as poor as church mice!  To their eternal credit, they did help us financially.

No doubt there were tempted to veto the whole thing for, in addition to the above issue, the cultural disparity could prove problematic and could affect our marriage.  Ultimately, they welcomed me; there was a good reason behind that.

I didn`t know it at the time; but my ad represented a possible solution to a grave crisis that at that time prevailed in the household of my future in laws.

Norma was romantically interested in a neighbor living in her building; her parents saw it as no more than an infatuation and would have let matters run their course, but there were many issues:  He was much older than her, she was 21, and he was 40.  He was unemployed and still lived in his parents` home; oh, he was full of grandiose projects, but had done very little with his life, and there were no indication that that was going to change anytime soon.  Last but not least, his family was Italian and very Catholic.

Norma was more often than not in their house; and she was sure to be invited for supper when La Mamma cooked her divine Italian spaghetti sauce.  Plans were made for the time she would come and live with them.

What to do?  Norma was at an impressionable age; to forbid her to see him would make matters worse.  At 21, they had little control over her; moreover, he would be the forbidden fruit, and become even more desirable to her.

And it is, as this catastrophic situation was developing, that my ad appeared in the Aufbau and they saw it.  I no longer remember if it was Norma or Hugo who saw the ad first; this weekly was delivered for his benefit, for he enjoyed reading in German.  No matter, they saw it as a sign from God!

It probably went something like this:  “Norma, what do you think about this nice Jewish boy who is looking for a nice Jewish girl like you?  Why don’t you answer him, it’s worth a try.”

And so it was that this first contact was made.

What started as a convenient arrangement for all concerned, developed into a hesitant courtship carried out between New York and Montreal; and eventually a tender love story.

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