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be always kept the Pontiac polished to a lustrous sheen, but on this pleasant June day the automobile glowed, Annie thought, with a shine that didn’t come from Abe’s loving care and his little can of Simoniz car wax.

In these days of increased gas rationing, just traveling by car was quite a treat, but that, too, didn’t explain the radiance that seemed to hover over the passengers — her father-in-law in the front next to Abe, her mother-in-law and Abe’s Bubbe in the backseat with Annie.

This was, she decided, the glow of accomplishment, the sparkle of Yiddishe naches, the satisfying brilliance of a job well done. Abraham Levine — their Abie — was graduatingColumbiaCollege, and everyone in this car was simply bursting with pride and love.

They reached the Morningside campus, where the commencement ceremony was being held, in plenty of time; because of rationing, traffic jams were a thing of the past. Abe went off to don his cap and gown and join the milling crowd of graduates, while his family took their seats.

Annie listened intently to the speeches of the university’s president and other officials. This was the first wartime commencement ceremony since the Great War, and everyone spoke somberly of the challenges awaiting these young men.

Her gaze fell on the vast dark sea of graduates as she tried to identify Abe among them. A thought came to her, a heavy and threatening cloud slashing through a brilliant blue sky: How many of these boys will not come back from war? She shivered.

And finally it was time for the first of two students, chosen from among 4,700 graduates for their academic achievements and contributions to the college, to address the crowd. The master of ceremonies introduced the first speaker, the salutatorian.

Mr. Abraham Levine.

Shock. Delight. A surge of happiness almost overwhelming. Dora burst into tears, Sammy’s jaw hung open, Rachel Levine nodded wisely, as if to say this was only to be expected from her Abie.

And Annie? The intensity of her pride, joy, and surprise coalesced into a few words, unexpected and unspoken words that came from a place deep inside of her.

Thank You, Hashem, for giving me this man as my husband.

Please, Hashem, take care of him.