Beshert | ‘Pardon Me, But Is This Seat Taken?’

By | Oct 10, 2019
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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.

Top photo: Caroline and Malcolm

5 thoughts on “Beshert | ‘Pardon Me, But Is This Seat Taken?’

  1. Randee Silberfeld says:

    I love this story. Caroline. Truly feels like beshert to me.

  2. Carol says:

    A type of NYT Modern Love story! Looking forward to many more!

  3. Gerrie Sturman says:

    Love this story, too!!! What a contrast to me almost losing my beshert (now husband) when we went shopping together to pick out our wedding china… and I hated his choice. He agreed to my choice when I told him he’d never have to wash it. 30 years later, I’ve kept my promise.

  4. Gerrie Sturman says:

    Oops…wash it.

  5. Susan Cazary says:

    My younger niece Randy and her cousin went to the same nursery school. They had a class picture and drew a circle over one of the boy’s heads. When they played house they took turns as to who would be Glenn’s wife. Years later, my sister-in-law was working as an office manager in an Orthodox Jewish girls’ school. One day the director said she knew a very nice young Jewish man not Orthodox, who she thought might be a good match for Randy. Seems his parents, father was an orthopedic surgeon, died in a plane crash. He was the eldest of the three boys. He studied business, one brother became a lawyer and the other a doctor. Randy consented to giving him her phone number. He called twice and both times she was busy. He said he would call one more time but if she was again busy he would not call again. They did go out after the third call. The young man turned out to be Glenn, the boy with the circle above his head. They married ; they have a son and daughter in their twenties. BESHERT!

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