FOR THE LOVE OF RICHES, PART 7

Part 7

But Fannie was sadly mistaken about Sam, and the next five years were the most vexing years of her life. He never came back. Instead, Sam applied for a divorce. Fannie tried to talk to him; to reason with him. At that time of crisis, the behavior she exhibited was that of kindness and love incarnate, but it was all to no avail. Sam’s adoration and love were lost for good.

There were no assets to divide and Sam’s offer of alimony was as generous as Fannie could possibly expect, knowing his circumstances. He asked for bi-weekly weekend visitation rights and a month of summer vacation with Janna. Fannie agreed to the terms and after one year of separation, Fannie and Sam were officially divorced.

Half-a-year later, Fannie received a very strange telephone call. “Mrs. Resnick? Hello, this is Rabbi Weinstein calling. I am calling on behalf of your husband Samuel. He is asking you for a divorce. Are you in agreement to grant it to him?”

“What are you talking about, Rabbi? We’re already divorced! What else does he want?” a bemused Fannie asked.

“A proper Jewish divorce, Mrs. Resnick. By traditional Jewish law, you’re still married. Your husband would like to remarry and he can’t do so until he’s a properly divorced man, from a religious point of view, in addition to the civil aspect,” the Rabbi explained patiently.

“And why would I do this for him? He wants to get married – that’s his problem, isn’t it?”

“Mrs. Resnick,” was the calm response, “one day you’ll meet a nice Jewish man and then it’ll become your problem too.”

Eventually, Fannie relented and suffered through the strange procedure and heard how Sam announced in the presence of strangers that now Fannie was “free and unbound to any man.” Not that she had felt very bound before that!

When she first saw Sam’s new wife, Irina, Fannie was not impressed. Nothing special.

Another traumatic incident happened a little more than a year after Fannie’s religious divorce.

Janna was sitting at home and watching a wedding video when her mother came into the room.

“What’s this? Where did you get that DVD? Who got married?” Fannie impatiently wanted to know.

“It’s Miriam, Ben’s daughter. You know – Ben, dad’s boss. He asked daddy to record a video of the wedding. Ben was really pleased! He said that daddy’s video was excellent, better than he expected!”

“Just a second, Janna,” Fannie interrupted. “What’s that on the screen next to you?”

Janna was silent for a moment and then responded, “Mom, I don’t want you to get upset now. It’s a carriage. I have a new baby brother.”

”It doesn’t upset me one little bit, Janna. I don’t care about your father’s life,” Fannie retorted.

But, surprisingly, she found herself inwardly upset. Very upset.

A year later, Janna was watching yet-another wedding video and Fannie inquired, “Whose wedding is it this time? Does Ben have another daughter to marry off?”

“Oh no, nothing like that. Dad doesn’t even work for Ben any longer. He has so many requests for videos that he’s doing it full-time now,” Janna explained. “You know, mom, weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs…that sort of thing. The ballet school had an annual recital, so dad made a video for them too. He’s so busy. You know the weekly Russian language TV program on Sunday, at ten in the morning? The station offered dad part-time work with them.”

All of this was more than infuriating! She, Fannie, had suffered through hard times and now, when Sam finally became successful, that other woman Irina was the one benefiting from it. It was so unjust!

Many changes had transpired in Sam’s life during the five years since he walked out of Fannie’s door: a new wife, two new sons, a lucrative new business and a new house. It seemed that after Sam left Fannie, he rediscovered himself and was enjoying every moment of his new life.

Fannie had much less to be happy about. After almost four years, she had finally bought that semi-detached house she had longed for. But in order to be able to afford the mortgage she had had to rent out the basement. She also switched jobs and even got a promotion, yet all those changes were relatively unsatisfying. Fannie had several insignificant affairs as well, but her erstwhile Prince Charming was still not knocking on her door.

Another source of constant irritation was Janna’s behavior. When Sam and Fannie had just immigrated to Toronto, the Jewish community offered a free placement in a private Jewish school for Janna. There were two reasons why Fannie agreed to accept this offer: first, private school sounded so much better than public; and secondly, it was a ‘freebie’, and who in their right mind what say no to something that other people were paying for and you were offered for free?

But couldn’t Janna keep the religious drivel confined to the school? Why did Fannie have to stay home every Friday night, light candles and waste hours on that so-called Shabbat dinner? She had no time for such nonsense. Friday and Saturday evenings were the time for her social life. Why should she restrain herself from buying the food that she loved? If Janna didn’t want to eat pork, that was her problem.

Janna soon found a solution for the Friday night Sabbath dinner. One day she suggested, “Mom, can I go to dad’s house every Friday after school? And every Sunday morning I’ll be at back home with you. You’ll have Fridays and Saturdays free and we’ll have our Sundays together.”

Fannie thought that this was a fabulous idea; Sam readily approved as well, and so everyone adjusted to the new schedule.

Another source of constant irritation was Janna’s behavior. When Sam and Fannie had just immigrated to Toronto, the Jewish community offered a free placement in a private Jewish school for Janna. There were two reasons why Fannie agreed to accept this offer: first, private school sounded so much better than public; and secondly, it was a ‘freebie’, and who in their right mind what say no to something that other people were paying for and you were offered for free?

But couldn’t Janna keep the religious drivel confined to the school? Why did Fannie have to stay home every Friday night, light candles and waste hours on that so-called Shabbat dinner? She had no time for such nonsense. Friday and Saturday evenings were the time for her social life. Why should she restrain herself from buying the food that she loved? If Janna didn’t want to eat pork, that was her problem.

Janna soon found a solution for the Friday night Sabbath dinner. One day she suggested, “Mom, can I go to dad’s house every Friday after school? And every Sunday morning I’ll be at back home with you. You’ll have Fridays and Saturdays free and we’ll have our Sundays together.”

Fannie thought that this was a fabulous idea; Sam readily approved as well, and so everyone adjusted to the new schedule.

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