Beshert | ‘Pardon Me, But Is This Seat Taken?’
When I was 26 and living near Washington, DC, I worked in a department store selling fine china and crystal. I was fascinated with the various aspects of china and porcelain production. It was a quirky passion, but I loved it. My favorite china was Wedgwood. I loved it so much that I vowed when I went to Britain that summer to make a point of visiting the Wedgwood pottery in Stoke-on-Trent.
In London, I determined the different railway connections and bought a ticket to Stoke-on-Trent, a journey of some two hours and 15 minutes. What I didn’t realize until I arrived was that the town’s potteries were closed for their summer holiday.
Disappointed to miss the Wedgwood factory, I headed directly back to the station to take the next train back to London. It was very crowded and I couldn’t find an available seat. As I made my way through all the cars, I finally saw one across from a young floppy-haired man reading a book. “Pardon me, is this seat taken?” I asked him. He replied “No,” so I sat down. He was looking at an illustrated book on Renaissance art, which I’d studied in college.
I learned that his name was Malcolm and he was returning from a family event in Manchester. It turned out that he was keen on china and crystal, too! A cute British man, my age, randomly met on a train in a foreign country (for me) that I wasn’t supposed to be on, shared my quirky passion!
Somewhere between the railway journey and dinner in London, things started to feel beshert.
To say that the evening went well would be an understatement. Before I knew it, the restaurant was empty, with chairs stacked on tables and our waitress looking ready to leave for the night.
We got married two years after we met on the train. At the wedding, in a toast, my parents presented us with two round trip tickets from London to Stoke-on-Trent so we could finally visit the Wedgwood pottery—together.
One immediate challenge our marriage posed was that we are a mixed-faith couple. A declared atheist, raised in the Church of England, Malcolm consented to be married by a rabbi. Had religion been a factor for him, this wouldn’t likely have occurred. He was happy to have our son brought up in the Jewish faith, as he knew it was important to me. I didn’t fully realize how deep this gesture of love was until our son’s bris, a new occurrence in his family.
We have been married for 32 years. Our fine china is Wedgwood.
Caroline and Malcolm Rimmer make their home in Orgeval, France and collect fine china and glassware.