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 – XLVI. My Years at 12A Rue Khantaret Ghamra – My Brother (4 of 5)

When we left Egypt, Robert was only 16. Yet, he showed initiative that none of the other adults exhibited. There are certain qualities that you either have or don’t have. And Robert was blessed by nature with an enterprising spirit.

For quite a while, none of us worked. Not so with Robert. In Italy, he gave French lessons and earned some money.

In Israel, he incurred the wrath of Nessim when he decided to work in binian (construction). One day, a man knocked on our door and told my mother that he had noticed that she had two young sons. He was a foreman on a construction site and he wondered if one or both of her sons would be interested in a well-paying job? The conversation was conducted in basic French, broken English, and hints of Hebrew. Nevertheless, it was clear to my parents that what this man was proposing was pure heresy! Work in construction? Why only the fellahin (peasants) did that in Egypt!

Robert, over the objections of dad, came to the door, got the particulars from that man and told him that he would be on the site at 7:00 AM sharp.

This was followed by a big scene between Nessim and Robert. To calm things down, Fola sent Robert on an errand. She told my dad, “ya Nisso, Robert is now a young man and should be allowed to take his own decisions. At any rate I doubt that he will survive even the first day.”

But Robert not only survived, to make even more money, he accepted to work on the yetsika (cement mixer). If there is a hell on earth, it is to labor on the yetsika to make cement. There is a drum-like container that rotates continually and is fed with sand, gravel, water, and other compounds. Once it starts, you can’t stop it until the cement is just right, for otherwise you ruin the whole thing.

Once Robert started earning the big bucks, and bringing badly needed money, all anger against him subsided!

Robert did not remain in construction for long. He eventually enrolled in a technical school and completed an accelerated course in the electrical components and instrumentation of airplanes. He applied what he had learned when he joined the army. When he was discharged, he was able to secure a good job with El Al.

During our stay in Israel, we seemed to have reached a fork in the road. Even though we lived in the same house, we went our own way and largely ignored each other. Why is that? I do not know. Ultimately, it never mattered, for it held no real significance for us.

When we decided to immigrate to Canada, we communicated again. Our relationship warmed up; we have never looked back.

In Israel, Robert met and fell in love with a very attractive young woman, Margot. At the time, Robert was a devastatingly handsome young man. If only the personality traits would have matched the physical attributes, this would have been a union to be celebrated. Alas, it didn’t unfold this way.

They were married in Israel, and shortly thereafter left for Canada, and settled in Montreal. I doubt there was any extended period of happiness; this, despite their youth, looks, and the powerful forces of passion. They had one son, Allan.

I suppose it was a question of time; Robert’s announcement that he was divorcing didn’t take anybody by surprise. And poor Allan found himself spending part of his early childhood in Israel (Margot having returned there) and part in Canada.

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