Endless Love: Happy 40th Anniversary

Karen and I were married in 1977. Today is our 40th anniversary.

But the truth is I have been in love with Karen since I was nine years old. Which is to say I have been helplessly, hopelessly in love with Karen for most of my life.

I’m publishing the first chapter of my eBook How I Married Karen as a tribute to my wife without whom I am nothing.

Chapter 1

Great Expectations

Jean Simmons as Estella, “Great Expectations,” 1946.

She crosses my vision like a moon; nothing seems to touch her.

The new girl has thick black hair; dark eyes that seem to look right through you. She has just transferred from Yeshiva Ohel Moshe to Yeshiva of Flatbush. Her father is a rabbi in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

Karen Singer is her name.

It is 1959 and my life has just become something unrecognizable, shifting in ways I cannot quite understand or imagine. I am irrevocably changed. This girl has touched something so deep inside me that I feel as if I’m looking at myself, at my life, from a yawning abyss.

I am frightened. I experience feelings so powerful, so unfamiliar that I no longer recognize myself.

She wears a white blouse with a Peter Pan collar; a sharply pleated skirt that gently sways with each step.

During recess, I gaze at Karen and I’m instantly aware of her startling beauty, a mesmerizing, hypnotic face that is utterly compelling yet at the same time deeply alienating.

Karen retreats to a corner of the schoolyard, she holds a lace handkerchief to her lips.

I am only nine-years-old. Such a young child is not capable of romantic love—but I am. I am in love with Karen Singer, the rabbi’s beautiful daughter. I look at Karen and my heart is beating in my chest like a trapped bird.

In her eyes, there is a ferocious intelligence. There is also a sense of something withheld, for this is a girl who reins in her central core. Is it ever possible to know what Karen is thinking?

She wears black flats and her ankles are slim, smooth as an eggshell.

I am an awkward little kid, and for the entire year I watch Karen every chance I get. I watch the way she places her hand over her heart and solemnly recites the Pledge of Allegiance. I love the way her lips move, the way she hunches over and plays with her split ends when she’s bored during assemblies.

Years later, screening David Lean’s Great Expectations a film that profoundly moves me, I flashback to Karen and, oh my goodness, Karen is the Jewish Jean Simmons.

The popular girls hesitate to allow Karen into their tight-knit group. It’s obvious that these girls are threatened by Karen’s beauty, by the quiet manner in which she’s able to command respect. But finally, the popular group relents, and ushers Karen into their clique. Yet I notice that Karen is less than enthusiastic when she’s with these alpha girls. Her smile and laugh are subdued.

Alone at night, unable to sleep, I think obsessively about Karen.

I have started to fail one math test after another and my teachers have assured me that these F’s will go down on my permanent record. I imagine this permanent record being stapled to my chest for the rest of my life.

Karen Singer.

I recite her name when I’m alone. I have visions where we are holding hands. Between the spaces of my heartbeats, I tell her that I love her. But my fertile imagination never quite allows her to tell me that she loves me.

Some visions are beyond imagination.

I know the truth. I’m the kind of kid who never gets what he wants. Besides, I’m in the dumb class and if you’re in the dumb class, you are doomed to failure. This is what my teachers tell me. This is the reason the principal and founder of Flatbush Yeshiva, Mr. Joel Braverman, beats me up in the hallway.

However, I do have dreams, two dreams, to be precise, both of them kind of insane.

1) I love stories. I also love movies. I want to write the stories in the movies.

2) I want to marry Karen, the rabbi’s beautiful daughter..

Karen’s POV:

Robert’s image of me conjures the Rashomon effect. That delicate handkerchief on which he fixed was a way of hiding the little upchucks of vomit caused by the anxiety of being in a new school. I remember stuffing one handkerchief into the inkwells they had in the old fashioned desks — anything to mask my fear. No one knew how scared I was. No one knew how hard I studied. No one knew that I had missed several chapters in Torah class when I transferred schools and always had to cover for them. Thus are the secrets of the A class, the overachievers.

If Robert only knew.

Excerpt From: Robert J. Avrech. “How I Married Karen.” iBooks.

This entry was posted in How I Married Karen and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

Comment Rules


Seraphic Secret is private property, that's right, it's an extension of our home, and as such, Karen and I have instituted two Seraphic Rules and we ask commentors to act respectfully.

  1. No profanity.
  2. No Israel bashing. We debate, we discuss, we are respectful. You know what Israel bashing is. The world is full of it. Seraphic Secret is one of the few places in the world that will not tolerate this form of anti-Semitism.

That's it. Break either of these rules and you will be banned.


8 Comments

  1. alterbentzion
    Posted June 19, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Mazal tov! Hope you’re able to do something fun today.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. Posted June 19, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I loved your story since I first started reading you.
    It is the great Romance that one only finds in fiction. It could never happen in real life.
    Ah.
    But as it did – this always leads me to reflect on how G-d orchestrates all of our lives for His Good. Everything is basheirt. I can wish for the impossible romance and achievement of “Your life” or I can look at the wonder and amazement of “My life.”
    I live in an unimaginable future – simcha b’simcha.

    (Oh – and I wish you would write more of your casual encounters – they are classic.
    The simcha where you were told that you were “going to hell” and where you met the Jewish femme fatale.
    The meeting you had after the movie 300 came out.
    Those are also marvelous tales.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. Posted June 19, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Mazel Tov!
    Here’s to the next 80 years…. Only simchos and nachas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. sennacherib
    Posted June 19, 2017 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    Congratulations to both of you. Life’s funny how it works, especially when it works out for the best.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

  • How I Married Karen

    The new book
    by Robert J. Avrech


    Available in All Major Book Stores

    Buy this e-book for your Kindle from Amazon!
    Buy this e-book in the iBookStore!
    Buy this e-book in the iBookStore!

    Adobe Digital Edition's version is available through the Lulu store!

    Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

  • Follow Me on Pinterest
  • Subscribe to Seraphic Press via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.



  •  

    Annual Ariel Avrech
    Memorial Lectures

    Young Israel of Century City

    Fourteenth: June 11, 2016
    Daniel Greenfield: “Fighting Anti-Semitism and Defending Israel in the Age of BDS.”

    Blog Post
    MP3 Audio Stereo (100 MB)
    Thirteenth: May 22, 2016
    Ben Shapiro: “How You Can Save Israel”

    Blog Post
    MP3 Audio Stereo (70 MB)
    Twelfth: June 7, 2015
    Larry Elder: “The New Black Anti-Semitism”

    Blog Post
    MP3 Audio Mono (50 MB) | Stereo (100 MB)
    Eleventh: June 8, 2014
    Michael Medved: “Shifting Alliances: Why Liberals No Longer Reliably Support Israel — And Conservatives Do.”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 97MB)
    Tenth: June 9, 2013
    David Horowitz: “The War Against Judaism on the University Campus.”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 16MB)
    Ninth: June 3, 2012
    Joel B. Pollak: “The Mainstream Media’s Betrayal of Israel.”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 15MB)
    Eighth: June 5, 2011
    Yossi Klein Halevi: “What is Expected of a Survivor People: Lessons My Father Taught Me.”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 18MB)
    Seventh: June 13, 2010
    Dennis Prager: “Happiness is a Mitzvah, Not an Emotion.”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 80MB)
    Sixth: June 21, 2009
    Rabbi Steven Pruzansky: “Conformity in Jewish Life: Vice, Virtue or Affectation?”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 64MB)
    Fifth: June 15, 2008
    Rabbi Dr. Gil S. Perl: “What Was the Rosh Yeshiva Reading: Intellectual Openness in 19th Century Lithuania.”

    Blog Post | Audio (mp3 70MB)
  • Tags

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Friends

    Hollywood

    Politics, Bloggers & News

  • Hitmap