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.
Who knew that one of our most memorable speaking engagements would also end up being one of our absolute favorite stories, full stop. And when it comes to Red & Black, all we are … are stories, so that's saying something. But there was no way to know any of that as we set out to do a speaking engagement for high school students. And to this day, we can't decide which part of the story is our favorite … how we got there or what happened once we arrived.
Well, we were off to Silsbee High School in, where else, Silsbee, Texas. Which is about a two-hour drive from Houston and about 25 miles north of Beaumont, which was the closest city we could find to stay overnight as we were due at the school first thing in the morning for a full day (starting with a presentation to the entire senior class, and then one for the students that had used our book as the personal finance textbook in their Economics course).
So, off we go bright and early with me and my paper driving directions, as I'm old school and like to have everything ready in advance, plus I'm not a huge fan of technology. On the other hand, Black's busy on her iPad as we set forth on our latest student adventure. The road to Silsbee (sounds like a country western song) starts with three lanes, quickly drops to two lanes, and before I know it, I can see that it's about to go to one lane, with no signs indicating exits. And my paper directions are now useless! I turn to Black and ask her (well, really, tell her in my "panic") to see if she can find out where we are on her iPad and how to get to Silsbee, and ideally, Silsbee High School. All I can see is ruralness (Is that a word? If not, it should be) all around me, all I'm missing are some cows crossing the road. And Black's reply?
This past weekend, although not on my "To Do" list (although maybe I should start including it), I decided to take a little time to catch up on reading. So, I grabbed the pile of newspaper articles that I've been saving to read when I have extra time (which doesn't happen often). The good news (pun intended) is that many of these articles are so old by the time I get to them, that they go straight into the recycle bin. Such as the one when Trump was still President and covered not only the pardons he had announced but also the ones that were still expected.
Anyway, I wasn't sure the subject still interested me, as obviously it was no longer relevant, but decided to give it a quick glance, which is when I saw that it mentioned how Trump had promised to "drain the swamp" when he was running for President in 2016. Before you stop reading – this post has nothing to do with politics. It's about how that phrase brought back one of my fondest memories of my Dad and a piece of paper now yellowed with age …
We had barely introduced ourselves when the newspaper editor held up our book, gesturing to our "two-faced" logo on the front cover and said something along the lines of …
Ok, off the record, admit it, you embellished the characters in the book to be more entertaining.
When we finished laughing, we explained …