Memory Lane

A Perfect Day For A Convertible.  And For Chutzpah.


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The last few days have been beautiful fall weather, and I can't help but wonder – do you ever miss having your Ferrari convertible?


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Although some days are perfect convertible weather, given I barely drove it the last few years I owned it, averaging less than 50 miles a year, I can honestly say, "No." In fact, I cannot even remember the last time I drove it.


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I can't help you with that, but I'll never forget the last day we taught at KIPP Houston High School, and you drove it there. You should've seen the student's faces as you were lowering the top on it.


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Funny thing is I never took the car to KIPP because I did not want anyone to think I was showing off, but I forgot how exciting it is for motorheads to see special cars – whether new or vintage.


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I doubt everyone crowding around your car was a motorhead, but they certainly were excited to see your car. Boys AND girls! At the risk of sounding warm and fuzzy, I think the fact you not only drove a Ferrari, but also raced them, gave the girls a feeling of empowerment, that they really can do anything.


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I guess because I always worked in male-dominated industries, I got used to being the "token" woman. Regardless, I never look at things as being gender-specific.


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That's because you never look at anything like the rest of the world does, or at least most people do. A perfect example of that is you giving Juan a ride in the Ferrari. I doubt many people would have done that.


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It seemed only fair since he tried to make a "deal" with me the day before – a hand of poker or even a flip of a coin. If he wins, he gets a ride in the Ferrari. If I win, he will be my slave for a day. Giving him a ride in the car was a reward for having the chutzpah to try to make a deal with me. And, in the two years we taught at KIPP, of the over 200 students who took our Personal Finance & Life 101 class, he was the only one ever to do that.


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I'll never forget how you also told them that although it may not be the proper definition for the Yiddish word "chutzpah," the real-life definition is "having balls."


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How else would you explain it?


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You should know as many people have used that word to describe you. And it was consistent with the lesson we taught them about how you "confronted" Bob Weinstein (of the movie producing Weinstein Brothers) at a conference in New York. (Granted, it was well before the #MeToo scandal.) You realized you had nothing to lose, not to mention you were well-prepared.


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In most scenarios, if you do not ask for something, you will not receive it. So, what is the risk of asking? Someone may say "no"? The way I see it, you are no worse off than before you asked. So, in reality, there is no downside risk, but there IS upside potential. They may say "yes."


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True. And I laughed, although I wasn't surprised when everyone else started asking for a ride in the Ferrari!


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Except Juan did not just ask for a ride. He tried to negotiate a deal. He structured it so that there was an upside for me if he lost the bet, which obviously would be the downside for him. But, what impressed me the most was that he was proactive and took a chance, albeit a long shot, to get something he wanted.


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And given the smile on his face when you drove off, it obviously paid off. I bet, even though it has been many years, it's something he's never forgotten.


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The lesson or the ride in the Ferrari?


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Both. And I will go out on a limb and say I bet many of the kids standing around the car when you told Juan to jump in, and then explained why, may also remember not only that day but the importance of the lesson.


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Then, it was a perfect day for a convertible ride.
Photo courtesy of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Some things should never be forgotten. That’s why tomorrow’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day was created by the United Nations to mark the unspeakable horror of the Nazi’s genocide of over six million Jews. An event beyond comprehension, which makes us wonder why many U.S. states don’t require students learn about the horrors of the Holocaust. How can we prevent atrocities from happening again if we don’t understand how they happened before? And as we see heartbreaking images from Ukraine, it reminds us of Holocaust images, and that evil will always be evil …

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Shoes. Seemingly endless shoes. That’s all I can think about.


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I know you cannot be talking about my closet.


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Far from it! It’s an image that’s forever burned in my memory. A pile of shoes, each one representing a life lost. Each one a story onto itself. Each one proof of something we should never forget.


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Normally, I would ask you to tell me what you are talking about or accuse you of being overly dramatic. But, not this time.
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New Year’s Eve is one of those nights (Black calls them “forced” celebrations) that often have great expectations attached to it. Many people make a big deal of it, but we prefer a lowkey approach, making the evening “special” by spending it with special people – for Red, her daughters, and for Black, close friends.

Some years it can be a bittersweet celebration (if loved ones have passed or no longer live close to home), but that can remind you of what’s most important.

So, let’s all toast to the promise and hope of a new year … and to champagne and toilet paper.



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New Year's Eve seems like the perfect time to stroll down memory lane, although I'm guessing your memories are much more interesting than mine.


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"Interesting" is a subjective word. Regardless, are you talking about memories in general? Or, New Year's Eve celebrations?


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Actually, it was just a passing comment. But since you've always seemed to make a bigger deal out of New Year's Eve than I have, are there any years that really stand out?


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Truth is the most memorable ones are the ones spent with celebrating with closest friends versus crowds. In fact, I think I have spent more than half of my New Year's Eves with John and Diana. Although, I will never forget bringing in 2000.
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We appreciate that not everyone celebrates Christmas, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a favorite Christmas memory. Interestingly, or is it ironically, Black, who barely tolerates the “forced” celebrations associated with holidays (and birthdays) and prefers to look forward to the future vs. reminisce about the past, likes to tell the story of the “Jewish Santa”. Black may see a deeper meaning to it, but for Red, it’s a favorite and heartwarming Christmas story, although she’d never tell Black that …

BLACK: I do not know at what age my Christmas memories began, but I do remember being very young and in awe of a very large – and very well decorated – Christmas tree in our family room. I even remember peeking down the stairs late one evening and seeing my mother standing extremely close to Santa Claus. OK, you might not find that an unusual memory, except my family is Jewish.

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