This is part one of a two-part series. Part two will run this afternoon.
There once was a loving couple. A man and a woman. They grew up together and were childhood sweethearts. They both came from middle class homes, but always dreamt of building a mansion on the hill together. Following high school, the man went off to make his fortune, while the woman waited back home, living with her parents and working at the local diner.
The man was gone for 4 long years, working his finger to the bone, but he never lost his love for the woman and the woman never lost her love for the man. Finally, he was able to strike it rich and move back home. He designed and built the mansion on the hill and married the woman of his dreams.
They lived happily together in the mansion and all the townspeople envied what they had together. But deep down the man grew restless. His life’s ambition had been to build the mansion and marry this woman, but now he had nothing to work for. In his restlessness, he started to realize the mansion wasn’t as perfect as he had always imagined. Unbeknownst to his wife, he decided to remodel the mansion. One day his wife walked in and noticed the bathroom was being painted with gold leaf, the décor was littered with elephant ivory and polar bear rugs, and a butler was hired for every room in the house.
The argument that followed was heated. The woman was incredulous that the man could remodel the mansion of their dreams without talking to her first. The restless man told the woman he was going to leave her. But before he could go, she acquiesced and said he could paint the mansion any color he wanted, but he just needed to check with her first.
Things seemed to get back to normal – the loving couple living together in their dream mansion. But after a time, the man grew restless again. He began having an affair with a local real estate agent. When the woman found out, she understandably became enraged. In the heat of their argument, the woman told the man that he had to leave, but much to her surprise, he actually did.
The woman was left heartbroken and alone, living in her dream mansion but without a man to love her. While in the depths of her despair, she met another man. This man had also grown up with the woman, - from grammar school through high school. In fact, he had even been the painter hired by the woman’s husband to paint the bathroom. She had never thought romantically of this other man, for though he had a reputation of being nice and courteous and affable, he was not particularly good looking and was content to live in his middle class neighborhood.
However, while in the depths of despair, this man loved her. He bought her flowers, took her out to dinner, wrote her poetry. He insisted to her that she was special and that he would never make a decision to remodel the mansion without consulting her first. Unbeknownst to her, he told her, he had loved her from afar his whole life and wanted to spend the rest of it spoiling this heartbroken woman the way her ex-husband never did.
They were married and the new man moved into the mansion the first husband had built for his wife. The woman immediately insisted that her new husband remodel the mansion. She couldn’t bare living in the same house that her first husband had built. Wanting to do anything to please his new wife, the new husband dove head first into remodeling the house.
He hired his best friend’s son, a tile layer, as the project manager and found jobs for all his painting buddies, many of whom have just recently moved back to town after failing to strike it rich in the big city, to help with the remodeling. The crew had vast experience in constructing middle class homes; in fact some of them had even helped build the houses in which the woman and her first husband had grown up.
To be continued....
[pic via judaica-art.com]