Archive for October 17th, 2010
Shortly before my great uncle turned thirty, he left for the old country in search of a wife. He traveled from city to city and village to village looking for the right girl to start a family with. When he’d arrive at his destination, he would call upon the priest and ask about the single young women of the place, requiring only that they be industrious, not too attractive of face, and God-fearing. He was a hard working jeweler, suspicious, and a bit on the thrifty side, and he wanted a wife who wouldn’t give him any trouble.
In that entire land of available, plain-faced girls, only a handful were found to meet his standards. My great uncle picked the prettiest of the bunch, because she had a lazy eye, he used to say, and he pitied her. He bedded her, found her to be a virgin, and married her right after. As he wanted to be seen a man of social standing and wealth, he refused the dowry her parents had prepared, even the linen, and requested that she not take a single article of clothing or memento with her. They sailed as husband and wife for America, and her parents could not believe their good fortune.
For the young wife, the doorway into the new world changed her life. My great uncle however, was disappointed. The girl he had married out of the generosity of his heart turned her back on all the good he had done for her. She soon caught on to the new language, and taught herself to read and write. She observed the fashionable women coming in and out of the jewelry shop and wanted to be like them. She bought rouge for her cheeks and dancing shoes. Yet she did not neglect to bear her husband two daughters and then a son before she announced that she would have no more children, but a mink coat instead. After he reminded her what a good, obedient wife was supposed to do, he gave in and got her one.
Years later my great uncle left for the old country again. He wasn’t widowed, nor was he divorced, but he was in search of another wife. He bought himself property and built himself a grand house out in the middle of nowhere. The girl he found was young, still in her teens, and not set in her ways. He married her and the very next morning sent her out with the cows.
Regardless of how he mistreated her, the girl didn’t complain. She bore him many children and my great uncle was happy. As so he remained until the day the communist government came to power and took every bit of his land, and all of his possessions. Then he remembered the wife and the children he had left behind in America, and wrote letters of love, pleading forgiveness. But the slighted woman would have none of it. She burned them in the fireplace, laughing at the absurdity of the man, put her mink coat on, and left for the opera.
This is a Magpie Tale.