Fannie relished her new-found freedom and considered that she got the best part of the bargain. Such was the case until the day came for Janna’s bat mitzvah.
Janna was very excited and nervous before the big event. “Mom,” she was pleading with Fannie, “please invite all your friends. We’ll have a luncheon after the service. Just let dad know how many guests you’re inviting.”
Fannie didn’t want to invite anybody and she didn’t want to attend any service or participate in the luncheon sponsored and organized by Sam, but under the circumstances she just couldn’t disappoint Janna.
Fannie’s dire premonition about event proved to be true. It was a horrible affair from her point of view. Everybody in the synagogue knew Sam, Irina and Janna. Everyone was warmly congratulating them and Fannie felt like she wanted to scream, I’m the mother. She didn’t expect to see so many people in attendance either. It seemed that Sam was quite a popular figure in the community. He had been present at so many celebrations of other people who had engaged him to make videos, that everybody in turn wanted to be present to congratulate him on his own daughter’s bat mitzvah.
Irina acted as the perfect hostess. Janna was obviously very comfortable with her step-mother and her two young brothers. Meanwhile, Fannie was grinding her teeth in frustration. Often she caught glances of startled guests who were looking at her askance and she heard their whispers, “That’s the mother.”
“You don’t say. I never knew that.”
However, there was a silver lining in that ridiculous, overdone affair, although initially it didn’t seem that way. At the end of the luncheon, an elderly lady approached Fannie and said, “So, he has his new family. What about you? My goodness, you have such a beautiful face, my dear! Come and see me tomorrow. I’ll find the right man for you.” And with that the elderly matchmaker handed her business card to Fannie.
After she returned home from the synagogue, Fannie studied her own image intently in front of the mirror. She looked as though she was in her late twenties, not more, but in truth, Fannie had just recently celebrated her thirty-fifth birthday.
Janna was spending more and more time with Sam and his family. Several more years and she, Fannie, would be completely alone.
She resolved there was nothing to lose by going to see her matchmaker acquaintance which she did the very next day. To Fannie’s surprise, the old lady had an actual business office with a secretary.
Fannie was asked to fill out a long application form in which she was to describe herself and her interests, and her hobbies. She also had to describe her ‘ideal’ man and to outline what she was looking for in a relationship. Fannie’s written responses were extremely short and specific.
In due course, Fannie was ushered into a private office and found herself seated across from the matchmaker.
“Your answers, my dear,” the woman was saying, “didn’t give me a whole lot of information about what you actually want. Please tell me more about what kind of man you’re looking for.”
“Rich,” was the laconic answer.
The matchmaker began laughing. “Sure, Fannie. We all want to have financial independence. I understand that. But in addition to money, what other qualities should the man of your dreams possess? What kind of man would make you truly happy?”
“Rich – that’s all. Just rich,” Fannie replied in a determined voice.
The old matchmaker scrutinized the woman sitting across her and realized that Fannie was dead serious.
“Well then, I do have a client – Nathan,” the matchmaker began hesitantly. “I’ve known him for many years. Good man. He’s a widower; was married for over thirty-five years. The Lord didn’t give them any children. He’s much older than you and not as tall as you are. He never had too much time for exercise so he’s a bit out of shape, and frankly, his hair is not what it used to be.”
“How old is your client and what business does he have?” Fannie inquired.
“He’s sixty now. His father founded a factory that was making locks and keys. Under Nathan’s management the factory expanded quite a bit. Now they’re making all kinds of security devices for homes and offices.”
“Fannie,” the matchmaker continued, “Nathan’s a fine man and he needs a good, caring woman.”
“I’m a good, caring woman. Please introduce me to Nathan and if he likes me, I’ll be the best wife that a man could possibly dream of,” Fannie assured the matchmaker. Fannie’s beautiful face suddenly took on an aura of genuine sweetness and her sparkling eyes reflected such sincerity that the old woman nodded her head in agreement.
The matchmaker still had her doubts about this prospective match-up but nevertheless, she made arrangements for Nathan and Fannie to be introduced to one-another.
Nathan was genuinely smitten at first sight. He could never have imagined that such a splendid young woman would ever consider paying any attention to him. She was so beautiful and so intelligent…
Fannie in turn decided that Nathan was adorable, sort of like a cute pet.
Nathan gave her a tour of the factory and was impressed by Fannie’s attentiveness and intelligent questions. Her seeming admiration of his factory made him a very happy man.
Scarcely three months later, the happy newlyweds tripped off to Hawaii for their honeymoon.
Upon their return, Nathan sold his house and bought a splendid new residence on the prestigious Post Road. He also paid off the mortgage on Fannie’s semi-detached house and rented it out on her behalf. After all, Nathan had always believed that a woman ought to have her own independent source of income.