Promotional image for "Goldfinger," Eon Productions, 1964. Image in the public domain.

Black loves to play the "Can you connect the dots" game, especially when it comes to Red & Black and our many unexpected detours. Well, I got to create my own version of the game a few weeks ago when Black sent me the link to a wonderful remembrance of Sean Connery by Donald Liebenson for Vanity Fair. Which brought back memories … of Red & Black?!


Donald, besides being a wonderful writer who has covered many famous people, has also written about people who are far from being famous. Or maybe he thinks of them as "yet to be discovered." (Hollywood, we're still waiting!) But the article he wrote about us for Millionaire Corner was almost 10 years ago, yet is still one of our favorites.

At the time, we were between our first and second years of teaching at KIPP Houston High School and we were thrilled (and shocked) when he contacted us asking for an interview. There was no way of knowing that his article, "Sisters 'Red' and 'Black' Put an Unconventional Spin on Financial Literacy," would not only be entertaining, but incredibly useful, as over the years we've included it as a handout at countless educational presentations and in press kits. Plus, we've used his phrase, "a funny thing happened on the way to Hollywood," as the title and theme of many speaking engagements and even on PowerPoint slides. (Thank you, Donald. I hope we don't owe you royalties.)

Donald's masterly use of our quotes captured our personalities and somehow made our journey sound like we almost knew what we were doing. And that we had a plan all along. Well, we're still on that journey and maybe one day he'll write a follow-up article ... when we finally do get to Hollywood.

Photo by JohnAlexandr on iStock

As I write this, the New York Islanders are tied (1-1) against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the semi-final round of the Stanley Cup (the Super Bowl of ice hockey, although it has been around almost 75 years longer). Growing up on Long Island, I have been an Islanders fan since birth – the team's birth in 1972, having been introduced to ice hockey by my father, who had always been a huge New York Rangers fan.

Understandably, having another hockey team in the New York metropolitan area meant there would be a serious rivalry between the two fan bases. Including at our house. And, often at the kitchen table, although it did not include my mother. She was not a sports fan of any sort, let alone ice hockey, and was not even remotely interested in learning … although she should have created a "penalty box" somewhere in the house for when I misbehaved (which was often) but probably realized I would enjoy being sent there, which would only encourage my misbehavior.

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Photo by seanfboggs on iStock

How can such a small number of flowers mean so much? After all, a bouquet's visually more impressive, so why do I have such fond memories of the few corsages I received over the years? Because it's a reminder of when things were more "old-fashioned" (but in a good way) and reflected a mixture of class and even elegance. Or, maybe it was because it came from a place of love and affection.

So, what made me even think about this? Well, it's prom season (although due to the pandemic, my daughter's prom was canceled), and recently on "Live with Kelly and Ryan," Kelly Ripa was talking about her son, Joaquin, going to prom. When I saw photos of him and his date, I couldn't help but notice her corsage (and his matching boutonniere), and it brought back memories as, years later, corsages still signify something sweet, enduring, and wonderful.

But corsages aren't only for proms. For me, corsages celebrated rites of passage, like my "formal" graduation ceremony from Schwarting Elementary School (I graduated in the early 1970s, so don't know if they still do that, but had to laugh when I saw how large the trees in front of the school had grown) and my Bat Mitzvah ceremony a few years later. And although I received a corsage from my date (who flew in from Switzerland for the occasion) when I attended my one and only prom, the only corsages that ever really mattered were the ones from one person,

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Red's two Labradoodles

Photo taken by Red


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Well, this month marks 18 years since you changed my life, so I wanted to thank you. Again. For bringing such happiness into the lives of the girls and me, although some heartbreaking sadness, too. But there's nothing like unconditional love.


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OK, but can you tell me what you are talking about?


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Do you remember when I moved to Houston after living overseas, and we started going to the Hyatt Hill Country in San Antonio for Memorial Day weekend? You were married to Larry, and his girls were young, and Natasha and Sawyer were even younger. Well, in 2003 you asked me if it was OK if you got us a puppy.


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You had always talked about getting a dog but wanted to have children first. The timing seemed right, but given your allergies, the options were limited. Until I learned about a new breed, well technically a mixed breed, originally developed in Australia to be hypoallergenic guide dogs.


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I'll never forget you showing me photos of the most incredibly adorable dogs I'd ever seen. The fact Labradoodles were half standard poodle, which was what I had initially thought we'd get, and half Labrador Retriever was amazing. But only you could find the perfect dog from an article in a business magazine.
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