He walked into my bank with a definite swagger. His thick black hair was combed straight back and his handsome face was nursing a cigar. His strong voice rang out as he greeted several people and he settled in at the desk of our young vice president who smiled broadly at the man. My first thought was mafia for there was an air of power surrounding him along with a disregard for protocol.
"That is Carl Rubin." my head teller said quietly as she saw my interest. "He is the new Attorney General."
"He sure is good looking but he really is cocky." I observed.
"Too bad he is Jewish." she said behind her hand.
"So?" I snapped, quite irritated. I learned a long time ago that prejudice had no place in my life.
Carl had evidently noticed me also for he asked the vice president to introduce us. I would have been put off by his cockiness if it hadn't been that he had the kindest eyes I had ever seen. They were framed by the faint lines of laughter and caring. We started dating.
Carl was a great date. He wined and dined me at the best restaurants. He was a bold but very good dancer and an interesting conversationalist. He was the type of guy you loved to ask,"And how did your day go?" He always had great stories. What was not to like?
We became serious in a hurry and were maybe too soon making long term plans. Religion stayed in the back ground. He was not strong in his religion and it was never discussed.
Carl was very successful in his own right but his family was extremely wealthy. An interesting part of their wealth was in cattle. They had a very large ranch in central Florida and Carl used to love calling himself a Jewish cowboy.
I loved going out to the ranch with him. He was a fine horseman and thrived on the hard work. Easily, we were the happiest there. He looked great in his impeccable suits but was never sexier than when he was in jeans, boots, a tee and a bit sweaty.
Carl's father was deceased and his mother had been on a trip abroad for months. I had not met her and was a bit worried about it. His brother Ben had told me that Carl could very well be disowned if he married outside his faith. Ben said that she might even go so far as to declare her son dead. I had never heard of such a thing. I was getting more worried as the time drew near to meeting her. I loved him but I certainly didn't want Carl to lose his family over me.
Then came the meeting with Mama at a welcome home party when she returned from Europe. Her house was lovely and was on the Gulf. It was the first time I ever saw Carl nervous. He was always so confident but not that night.
He brought me before his mother to introduced us. She was as put together a woman as money allowed. Very striking and I saw where Carl got both his good looks and his confident demeanor.
Carl very carefully pronounced my name. The most amazing thing happened though when she heard my very Irish last name which was all I retained from my ex-husband. She didn't care how I got the name and in all fairness, my maiden name was equally gentile sounding.
As he pronounced the last syllable in my name, I just disappeared, vanished, was no longer there. Instantly I became invisible. She looked right through me, turned on her heels and made a show of greeting another person. She never spoke to me or to Carl for that matter the rest of the evening.
Carl was angry and very hurt. We left the party ushered out by the whispers of the curious. All my life I had fought prejudice but had never been the victim of it. Trust me, it is not a good feeling.
Later she made it clear to Carl that if he pursued a relationship with me, he would be disinherited. The ranch would be taken from him and all contact with his mother would cease. Carl said he didn't care but I knew he did and I didn't want him to suffer such drastic measures.
The wedge was driven between us and rather quickly caused a irreparable breech. Eventually over some unrelated excuse, I broke up with him. My leaving would hurt us both but I couldn't be the blame for him losing his family.
That was not my first experience with prejudice but it was the first that had been directed at me. Such an ugly emotion, either giving and definitely receiving. I'll never forget it.
Have you ever been the victim??