Red and I met when I was 14 1/2 and he was 15 1/2. My friends and I were just starting to have boy-girl parties. My friend Amy gave one and invited boys she knew from her Jewish summer camp. They lived in Queens and we lived in the Bronx, but five of them said they’d make the trip to Amy’s party.
That day, January 28, 1956, was cold and snowy. I went ice skating in Central Park and twisted my ankle really badly. When I got home, I called Amy and told her I couldn’t make the party. I literally couldn’t move, let alone cross two streets and climb many flights of stairs.
I felt very sorry for myself that night. Then, at about 8 p.m., the phone rang and an unknown person on the other end introduced himself as Red.
Why did Red call me? Well, he got to Amy’s party with his four friends from Queens, and everyone else immediately found a partner to dance with. Red was the extra boy, and he told Amy he would go home, which by bus and train was about an hour and a half ride. Amy said, “Wait a minute. I have another friend who was supposed to be here, but she twisted her ankle. Why don’t you call her?”
When I think about it, it’s amazing that we met—beshert. I definitely have Amy to thank. If she had just said good-bye to him when he said he was leaving, that would have been the end of the story. And, if he hadn’t called me…
That call led to a life of adventures and surprises. Red became an anthropologist. (Everyone who knew him from that time still calls him Red. He started using his middle name, Russ, in graduate school.) We got married six years after we met and have traveled to and lived in many countries, including Germany, Japan, England, Mexico, Colombia, China, Canada, Spain, France, Italy, Hungary, Qatar, Turkey and Israel.
Most of our adventures have been wonderful. We’ve met and become friends with great people, seen beautiful things and have become part of people’s lives. (Some adventures weren’t so good; accidents, hospital stays, illnesses and sometimes boredom and culture shock.) We raised two daughters and have two grandkids.
Fifty-seven years married, we’re still having fun and are still open to new adventures. Laughter, trust, and love go a long way.
Carole Bernard is a copyeditor; Russ is Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida and the Director for the Institute of Social Science Research at Arizona State University. They live in Gainesville, Florida, Tempe, Arizona, and Kalymnos, Greece. They are planning to celebrate their collective 160th birthday in Mexico and Morocco.
One thought on “Beshert | A Life of Adventures and Surprises”
Russ, please accept a hug along with my most sincere admiration, and my respects to Your friend and partner Carole.