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Berta on Marrying Rudy

It is hard to marry. There are very few young men and especially young Jewish men. In my town, we are mostly related and so that makes it harder. And now Rudy Bernstein has called on me at my family’s house.

I have heard of him; he is a distant cousin. Frieda told me he is handsome and very smart. He studied Greek and Latin at Gymnasium. I think she was sweet on him. Now I see him with Daddy and I like him already.

He is ten years older than me with dark hair that is already thinning. His dark eyes make him look serious and kind at the same time. But he is quick to laugh at my Father’s jokes. That is a good sign. His laugh is a rich, warm sound. This is a man who can forgive and forget. Mamma says that is the most important and I think she is right.

I loved him that very day and I felt that he loved me too. I made up my mind right then that I would marry Rudy Bernstein. My sisters were jealous. They had no beaus. I knew I wanted to marry and Rudy would suit me.

I went to Borken to meet his family and that’s when we announced our engagement. Rudy’s father was dead and his Mother was very ill. He wanted her to have the chance to meet the woman he would marry. We didn’t know if she would last until the wedding. We had already spoken to my Daddy. My parents were very strict so I knew if they liked Rudy this was the thing to do.

Rudy and I started out in Dusseldorf. He had a position with Herr Heisner who had a china and glassware shop. Rudy already worked there a year, so he knew about the shop and the business. The Salzman’s had no children and this would be a good opportunity to buy our own shop.

Dusseldorf was a much busier city than I was used to. I liked the hustle and bustle and I loved working in the shop. People were not free with their money—times were very hard. But still, being in a big city, more people came in and bought things than I was used to from my apprenticeship in Ahlen.

I  dressed the windows and we always got compliments on them. China and glassware is so pretty it is easy to make a display look good.