My great-grandparents, like good Jews, got engaged on Christmas Day, 1904. I don’t know how long they knew each other before this event, but the story goes that Annie, my great-grandmother, was sitting on the porch of the relative she was visiting in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, when Max, my great-grandfather drove by. He caught a glimpse and thought she was so pretty that he came back later to meet her. This must have been in the summer, or at least the autumn, because I doubt the same kind of leisurely porch-sitting would have occurred in the winter. Of course, that is just speculation, but it would mean that they had known each other some months before they got engaged, just as there were about six months between their engagement and their wedding on June 11, 1905. During this time, Max was living in Red Lion, Pennsylvania, working in the tobacco wholesaling business, and that would have meant a train ride of at least 3 or 4 hours to visit Annie in Manhattan (and vice versa), not to mention letters that no doubt passed back and forth between their two homes. Later in their lives together, there were difficulties (a child’s death, Annie’s growing hypochondria and ill health), but it does make me glad to know that at least at the beginning, theirs was a marriage that was founded on love and youth and happiness.
Max Kalisch (1873-1947) and Anna Cohen Kalisch (1879-1937)
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