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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.

So, when Black mentions Redhead Appreciation Day, I know it’s related to Red & Black and not her being “nice” and giving me a day off (or telling me that she appreciates me). And when she asks, “What is it like to be a redhead, Red?” part of me wants to reply, “What’s it like not to be a redhead?” because, for my entire life, I’ve been “Red.” (There’s a story there, but I’ll get to it later.) The honest answer is, well, I never thought about it, until now …

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Photograph of Jackie Aguilera courtesy of Jackie Aguilera


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I have a confession to make, which I’m sure will make you roll your eyes.


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Interesting caveat and probably true.


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Every time we meet with Jackie (Aguilera) from the Mayor’s Office of Adult Literacy and hear what she’s doing in the world of adult education, I feel like I’m back in school and having to take copious notes.


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I am more than happy to send you “homework assignments” as I come across relevant articles and research.


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Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll stick to taking notes. But that does explain why you’re so knowledgeable about literacy.


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But, reading information is very different from being at the forefront of literacy innovation. And, if we had never met Jackie, I never would have realized how literacy is more than the dictionary definition, and encompasses more than just reading and writing.
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Photo by Lynda Sanchez on Unsplash

As Black knows, going to the movies is my escape (and even sends me research about it), but she also knows that it’s all about the popcorn. So, it should come as no surprise that’s how I like to celebrate my birthday. And even though she’s not one to “celebrate” birthdays, she does indulge (or maybe the word is “tolerate”) people who do, and whenever my birthday falls on a workday, she gives me “permission” to escape to the movies.

Which is what I’m doing today on my milestone birthday, and although the “rerun” part of this post (below the line) was from last November, some things never change. Except … this year, as I’ll be waiting for the movie to start (and waiting to start eating my popcorn as I refuse to eat even a single kernel beforehand), I know I’ll be wondering, “How did I get to be 60 years old?!”

It's a running joke in my family that the only reason I go to the movies is for the popcorn. And while that isn't 100% true, it's probably close as I can't remember a time when popcorn wasn't an essential part of the experience. (I'll admit I couldn't believe it when I recently read that South Korea's banning movie popcorn in the theater!)

I can still remember seeing "Young Frankenstein" when it was first released (in 1974) at the Massapequa movie theater, which was literally at one end of an old strip shopping center. It bore no resemblance to the multiplex cinemas of today, and the concession stand offerings were very limited. It was dark and a bit dingy, and the seats were old and uncomfortable. But I didn't care because the popcorn made up for it. And while I sat through multiple showings of the movie (hey, it's still one of my favorites), I was grateful that my dad had given me enough money to get multiple popcorns as in those days, there was no such thing as the big bucket, let alone free refills.

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