I will not delve deeply into the story line of The Golden Willow, as I would then be giving much of it away. Suffice it to say that the memoir is one that reflects on Harry’s marriage to his wife, Ruby. It chronicles their life together, from their first meeting to their journey of love through the decades.
They fell in love at first sight, so to speak, at a dance, and that meeting took them through the trials and tribulations of marriage. They had a happy life together, at first living in a small rented room in Manhattan. From there they moved to Greenwich Village in order to be surrounded by those whose interests coincided with theirs…the cultural arts. Harry wanted to be a writer, and they both felt living within writers, painters, dancers, etc., might give him not only inspiration, but an advantage.
After approximately four years, they moved to the suburbs, and their life held new meaning, as they were parents of two children. The reader is taken through the phases of their life together, through the decades of political and social turmoil, through the decades in which their undying love for each other, and their dreams survived. Each one held the highest respect for the other, and both Harry and Ruby had a marriage full of the deepest and enduring love, combined with mutual interests, admiration and caring.
Ruby died at the age of 91, from Leukemia. Harry felt the loss deeply, after being married for so long. He eventually began writing, hoping to fulfill his long-held dream of having a book published. That dream came true in the form of The Invisible Wall.
The Golden Willow is a lovely book, and one that is a testament to their marriage, and a tribute to Ruby. It is also a tribute to Harry’s determination to try to move forward after Ruby’s death, and to tell their story. It is illuminating, filled with humor, and with much poignancy. It is not filled with the same details and lessons as The Invisible Wall and The Dream, held, as it is more of a story outlining Harry and Ruby’s marriage and deep love, and its endurance over decades. It is a memoir that will be a lasting legacy to their children, a legacy of undying love.
Harry Bernstein has written another inspiring book/memoir, and one I recommend to everyone.