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 – Egypt – CXX. Alexandria – My Vacations (6 of 10)

The summer months were used by my mother to renew her wardrobe. Her favorite couturiere (seamstress), Rina, lived in Alexandria. Rina was a high class seamstress; but because my mother was a long time friend, she reduced her fees.

I loved to accompany mom when she went to Rina. She had a large workshop with girls laboring at sewing machines. Rina always had a treat for me. As for the junior seamstresses, they smiled at me, for I provided a break from their monotonous routine.

Before any business was conducted, Rina and Flora had a long discussion; and believe me, it was no small talk. Rina was a woman with a heavy heart; her only son was in France when the war started, and during the war she never got any news from him. After the war, she looked high and low for him, unfortunately, it proved to be a futile search; there was little doubt that he had been killed in the course of this terrible conflict. But Rina never gave up hope. Therefore, every year, my mother would ask if there were new developments, and Rina with tears in her eyes would inform her that she still had no news from her boy.

Eventually, Rina would ask my mom what she had in mind for this year. And here, a fascinating process, fraught with mysteries (for any male) began. Before I go any further, let me take a step back.

During the year, my mother had a relative who came to make the occasional dress. She was a good seamstress, so why not use her all the time? My mom explained to me that not all seamstresses were the same; Rina was a cut above. This was easy to understand even for a child. But the rest was a different story.

Fola had an armoire-wardrobe bursting with dresses and other apparels, so why did she needed to make any new ones? “Il ne sont plus a la mode.” (They are no longer in fashion).

This explanation was a mystery to me back then; indeed, it remains a mystery to this day!

In the course of the year, my mother cut patrons (patterns) she liked from magazines.

Back to Rina’s workshop. Flora is showing Rina the patterns and they discuss them in relation to the latest fashion. Material and colors are considered. The end result: A shopping list which will be vetoed by Nisso, but ultimately approved!

Next my mother goes out with my aunts to buy what’s required. I sometimes go with them determined to see the light at the end of that particular tunnel.

The rest of the process can fill pages, so let me just say that mom goes to Rina a few times for fittings. If I am with her, and she is trying a dress, she will ask me, “Ca te plais?” (Do you like it?). Invariably, I will answer in the affirmative. And most of the time it was a sincere response. But the nagging question was still there: Why is all that necessary?

In time, I took that question to my father. His answer consisted of one sentence. Unfortunately, his view cannot be repeated in this forum, or indeed in any other forums!

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