Monday, October 12, 2015

AND THEN I DISAPPEARED

Redo from June of 09

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??

22 comments :

  1. What a fascinating story, and how sad that people act and feel this way. It's something I have a tough time understanding at all. You told the story beautifully.

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  2. What a remarkable - and sad - experience.
    My daughter's is a mixed-faith marriage; connections to other cultures awakens empathy for the unfamiliar.

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  3. I might have been some time in my life, but nothing pops up. I'm really surprised by people sometimes, but although I think you made the right decision, it's so very sad. This was very well written, though, and I was pulled right in.

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  4. Nothing that severe. How sad but a well told story.

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  5. We sometimes forget that hate does not pick sides. THat was pretty severe.

    The worst I ever got was a Gay friend of my wife #2 came to dinner and took great glee referring to me and straight people in general as "Breeders". I didn't say anything, but he was never invited to dinner again, and we turned down all reciprocal invites.

    I refereed to him as "That F*cking A**hole"

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  6. This story is poignant and very well written. I haven't been prejudiced against to such an extent, fortunately.

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  7. My mother's first love was with a jewish man. He asked her to marry him and she told him she couldn't because her mother wouldn't ever let her! Well, I suppose i wouldn't be here if not for my grandmother's prejudice and overbearing power over my mother.

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  8. Interesting story, Patti... Do you ever wonder what would have happened if you two had stayed together? Prejudice really does happen ---and it sounds as if that mother was determined to make it happen then...

    I never had a prejudice bone in my body ----but in my small town, we didn't have any Jewish people at the time, or people of many different cultures or religions... We did however have blacks in our community. They were segregated at the time (different schools) --but back then, that was just the way it was...

    We had a wonderful black family living across the street from us --so I learned early on how to love and respect them...All through my life, until we elected a black President, I NEVER had one bit of problem with racism. BUT--simply because I didn't/don't like Obama (ALL because of his leadership/decisions/the way he runs our country)--I have been called RACIST... Just broke my heart since his race had/has nothing to do with the way I felt about him. BUT---so many people feel that people like me don't like Obama simply because he is black.... Just NOT TRUE... (Of course, there are people out there who are racists --and may not like him simply for that reason, but many of us are not like that at all.)

    Now--here's the ironic thing: as of now, my favorite candidate for President in 2016 is BEN CARSON. Guess what color he is?????? ha ha

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  9. Quite a story, Patti. It's amazing how prejudice can distort the world.

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  10. My three kids all married people of different religions & it doesn't make one whit of difference to us!!

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  11. Joey,
    Thank you so much and I so agree. I too will never understand.

    Marty,
    You must be a good MIL. You are so right. If people would only realize different can be enlightening and interesting, not threatening.

    Djan,
    Thank you and glad you were entertained. I am just sorry she more or less made the decision for me.

    Gail,
    Lucky you and hope you never get to experience it. Thanks so much.

    joeh,
    Wow, I have never heard that term "breeders" before. Pretty sure it was not meant complimentary.

    Stephen,
    I am so happy you have been spared and thanks for the compliment.

    Olga,
    You know I never thought of it that way but I am sure his 5 kids and grands are quite happy we didn't connect.

    Betsy,
    You aren't racist at all. You are just a Republican and would dislike Obama's presidency even if he were a WASP. The fact that I didn't like Nixon had no basis on the fact that he was a Quaker or that I was in any way anti-Quaker. Often folks are just too quick to apply labels and try to pigeon hole people.

    Linda M,
    Every time I think we have come a long way, something happens to set us back a bit. Over all I do believe we have come far and our children will take that step even further. I have hope.

    Fran,
    Where were you when I needed you?? Had she been like you, I would probably be on a gold course somewhere in Florida.

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  12. Yep. This story had so many connections for me. I dated a guy, not Jewish, who could have been this young man. Mama ran the show and there was a lot of money. I was seven years older than her darling son, whom I madly loved, and he'd never married. I was divorced and had five kids. She thought I was after his money. In the end, Mama got her way. Later, she told me that my children had all turned out so well and that she was devastated that her son never married and never gave her what she wanted most: grandchildren

    Then, I identified with the prejudice part. My mother is quite prejudiced. When I dated my husband when I was a teenager, she learned he was Jewish and the son of parents who had barely escaped Nazi Germany. She insisted I not date him. She did not want me marrying a Jew. She would not allow him to come to our home or see me. In the end, thirty years later, I married this wonderful man. He is the true love of my life, but we both wonder what might have been had my mother not been so prejudiced.

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  13. I'm sorry this happened as it certainly sounds as though the two of you were and could have been very happy.

    I can't say I've ever been impacted by prejudice based on race. However, I have encountered sexism, where being a woman was a detriment. I know I sometimes feel some prejudice against a certain ethnicity (bad drivers) but it's general and not specific to individuals. I acknowledge it's not appropriate...but it's a go-to response in traffic.

    Today, in my work group of 10 there are four different ethnic groups represented. I love that we've become more multicultural in my community and when I walk down the street or into a store, I hear several languages spoken. It's amazing to a small town girl who didn't see a black person until she was in her 20's!

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  14. What an interesting story, told very well. It must have been very difficult to live through at the time.
    I was accused of racism as a first year teacher by the parents of the only black child in my class. I was shocked, and hurt. The family lived in the projects along with a lot of poor white trash, and were constantly picked on. They were a good family in a bad situation. It was 1966 and racial tensions were high. I had been trying my best to protect their son in my fourth grade class, but I couldn't be everywhere. All I could do was try to assure them that I would continue to be watchful. I never forgot that meeting.

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  15. When I was in high school I dated a guy who was mixed race. I got called terrible names by strangers when we were out in public together. People can be very cruel.

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  16. Such an interesting and sad story, dear Patti....I'm sorry that happened to you---who knows what might have been, had you both stayed together in spite of his mother. I certainly have experienced prejudice as a Jew, and in certain relationships, as well. And FYI, It was not unusual--back in the day--for very Orthodox Jews to feel just as his mother felt---and indeed, their child, whether son or daughter, was then dead to them, if they married out of their faith.(That may still be the case, today, I'm sorry to say) Horrible, Horrible, Horrible! Thank The Lord my parents were not Orthodox and were very progressive on many levels. Racism was abhorant to them and I am very grateful that was the case, too.

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  17. This was an interesting post, Patti. And sad. I was raised by a very prejudiced man and I was determined that I wouldn't ever be. I hope that I have been successful. We had several black men that helped with the farm work when I was a kid. I remember when it was time for the noon meal, the black men ate separate from the rest of us, but they did eat first. I always thought that was so rude that they had to eat by themselves, but I remember my mother explaining to me that that was just the way things were done in those days. That was my first experience with segregation. But I worried even then that their feelings must have been hurt to be treated differently. My dad, altho highly prejudiced, treated the workers very well. He just didn't have any use for lazy, no good people, black or white for that matter. He was a staunch Democrat and I often wonder if he would have voted for Obama!

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  18. Sally,
    Knowing your story makes one wish you and your husband had been allowed to marry in the first place but then neither of you would have the children you do have. It is just wonderful that you finally got together eventually. Guess it was all meant to be.

    Eileen,
    I know what you mean by ethnic diversity. Much more interesting. I had that in Florida but here in the Ozarks small town, I see only white bread. When ever I do occasionally see someone of another race who is passing through, it is a brief culture shock. I miss the diversity.

    Linda R,
    How awful to be accused of something that was so far from the truth. That had to have hurt. I guess they were use to all whites being prejudice and assumed you were. I feel badly for the child and you.

    robin,
    Don't you sometimes wish you were growing up today? They you would have most likely have been accepted. I remember how nasty things were years ago but we really have come a long way. Maybe someday we will make it all the way.

    Naomi,
    I am so sorry for any hurts that were inflicted on you by ignorant persons. My story showed me how prejudice hurts.
    I like to think those in entertainment were far more progressive and tolerant but I may be wrong.
    So glad you had such great parents.
    I never could understand the "declaring dead" solution but I am sure had we married, that is what would have happened.

    Cheryl,
    You and I were raised by similar parents. Odd how we both managed to not fall in line with their thinking. Perhaps our parents were a victim of their times. Thank goodness the thinking is changing and hope it continues to change. Interesting thought about your Dad and Obama. My Dad would have had a similar problem.

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  19. How sad that she was so unconcerned about her son's happiness and could only see that you were not Jewish like her. :(

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  20. Sweet Patti you have such wonderful talent with word usage. I was a victim through a lot of my school years because of my mom's religious beliefs and very strict dress code. Growing up with a lot of ridicule because of it I learned to respect all people. What a great act of love and caring for you to give up a man you loved to keep him from losing his family. You are a very strong lady and an encouragement to me. Hugs and give the sweeties nose kisses for me...oh, when Chancy wakes up I will tell him Happy Birthday for you and I am sure you will get a tail wag. Have a great weekend.

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  21. Never. Err at least to my knowledge. Does being called a nerd count for reading a lot and occasionally showing off my extended vocabulary. I did take up football and hoops though to prove I could do more than read books....:)

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  22. I'm just catching up with some of your posts while I recuperate in bed. I see that you're taking a blog break too. I've been gone to Chicago, Hershey and Maryland for the last 5 weeks and brought back a horrible cold.

    I didn't experience prejudice in Hawaii because we were the majority. It wasn't until we moved to the mainland that I first encountered it and was shocked at the feelings it aroused. I'd read about prejudice, of course. I'd seen the injustices in books and news and magazines. But until you've actually felt it on your own... wow.... you don't truly understand.

    You were very kind to your fellow. I imagine he might not have been too happy in the long run to be cut off from his family.

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