Words & Banter

Witching You Happy Halloween Memories

Photo courtesy of Red

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Ghosts, goblins, and pumpkins are everywhere you look! Not the ads and not the neighborhood; I’m talking about my decorations. Plus, I indulge in all the Halloween-theme food (OK, really all the pumpkin spice things) because I love Halloween!

But I also love all the Halloween memories, which I’m reminded of every time I look out the window of my “workroom” and see our annual Halloween inflatable. And I’m not the only one who loves it because over the years, whenever it gets “old and tired” (I can relate), my daughters have insisted I replace it with an identical one. At over 6 feet tall, it towers over me, and the three ghosts popping out of a pumpkin are scary but in a friendly way. But the best part? On any given day, I can hear little kids in our neighborhood walking by with their mom or dad and stopping and “squealing” with delight. Which makes me smile because I know it’s becoming a future memory for them.

My other outdoor decoration doesn’t seem to get quite the same attention, although it always makes me smile. As in every single time I pull into my driveway. You’d think, after all these years, this witch would know how to drive, but clearly not. Or maybe she was just distracted by the ghosts.

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I have always loved Red’s “bad driver” witch, partly because I love all things driving-related (OK, I will ignore the fact she crashed), but also because it originally was my decoration when I was married, and my stepdaughters were young.

People (of all ages) who celebrate Halloween may enjoy the decorations, candy (we all have our favorites), or even trick or treating, but my favorite part was always the candy-swapping negotiations. Originally, when Red and I were growing up, then my stepdaughters, and ultimately Red’s daughters. It is interesting how sibling rivalries and differences are put aside on Halloween and replaced with very business-like trade negotiations. Not to mention strategizing over return visits to houses that have the best candy.

And our Halloween wishes for you? (Guess who wrote “witch” one!)

  • No matter what you choose to do today or how you celebrate, we wish you a happy and safe Halloween and hope you have an opportunity to create wonderful memories for the years to come.
  • Trick or treat? Why not both? Happy Halloween!

People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters".

Red lives in an extremely diverse community (very different from the community we grew up in), and over the past few years, there’s been an increase in hate crimes and general “nastiness” directed toward people who are “different”. So, in honor of Celebrate Diversity Month, we’re rerunning this Conversation Starter in which Red remembers the first time she met a Black person, and Black … well, Black talks about Dr. Spock?!

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Growing up on Long Island in a Jewish home, I didn’t think twice about my best friend (who’s still a close friend) being Italian, although we did have different cultural and religious beliefs. And although we lived close to New York City, it wasn’t until I went to college in North Carolina that I met a Black person (and a Southerner, no less). She and I quickly became good friends and laughed at the fact we had the same last name, but that’s where the similarities ended. Yet, I had never really thought about diversity, or to be honest, even heard of the term, until you had us working on Career & Technology Education (CTE) curriculum, and we did a soft skills worksheet on it. That’s when I discovered that “diversity” was actually a “thing”, although lately, it seems to have become a political topic .

But once I was aware of it, I realized how much I learned from being friends with people who have different perspectives and experiences than I do. Of course, having a sister who at times seems more like a Vulcan, likes to push me outside my comfort zone, and makes me look at things from different viewpoints, has made me a better person – both in terms of newfound knowledge as well as a greater appreciation for how and why others may see things differently .

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Vulcan or otherwise, there were things to learn from Spock, which highlights the importance of diversity. In the broadest context, diversity introduces us to unique experiences and perspectives. In the workplace, it is often referred to as Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI), but I will stick with diversity (for now), which includes not only race, sex, and age, but also gender and sexual orientation, disabilities, religious beliefs, and socioeconomic status, and I am guessing there are other differentiators. I think it is as simple as accepting that not everyone is alike. (How boring would that be? It would be like only having vanilla and chocolate ice cream.) And, recognizing that differences are not right or wrong; they are differences.

From a business perspective, the more you look at things from different angles and perspectives, the more fully (and more creatively) you will see things, which in turn, helps you better understand and provide value to your target market.

I know I said I would not get into equity and inclusion, but I love this quote from Vema Myers, “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”


  • Define diversity. What does diversity mean to you? What are its challenges and benefits?
  • The concept of diversity in the workplace encompasses acceptance and respect. But that also applies to your personal life. How can your actions and behavior help or hinder the situation?
  • Are your friends and workplace associates a diverse group of people? If so, what have you learned from them? If not, why not? And would you be willing to proactively get to know people outside your "usual” circle?
  • Do you think “diversity” is seen differently by different generations? Why?

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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As you know, I love history, but I appreciate many people don’t.

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I am one of those people, so not sure where you are going with this.

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Exactly. So, when you first wanted to talk to me about the history of credit cards, I should have known something was up.

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Or, at least been curious.

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How was I supposed to know it would make a difference in my life?

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Why else would I want to give you a “history lesson”?
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Photo by mevans on iStock
Let’s be very clear. Autism has no correlation with intelligence; it’s a developmental disability (or what Black refers to as “DIFF-abilities”). And it’s a spectrum disorder, which means each autistic person has their unique mix of abilities, challenges, and ways of seeing the world (can’t that be said of all of us?!) So, as we celebrate World Autism Acceptance Week, remember it’s more than just awareness – it’s about acceptance.

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Did you know that April's Autism Awareness Month? I wasn't aware (pun intended) of it until I read our local homeowner's monthly newsletter and it caught my eye.

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Actually, last month the founding organization, the Autism Society, changed "Awareness" to "Acceptance" to foster inclusivity, as knowing about something is very different from accepting it. But I am guessing that is not the point of this call.

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Although it isn't autism, it reminded me of years ago when we found out that Natasha has learning disabilities.

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I think you mean DIFF-abilities.

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Of course, that's another thing I remember. I was focused on the negative aspects of her diagnosis until you asked me, point-blank, "Why are they called disabilities?" And proceeded to explain that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.

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Exactly! Imagine the world if everyone excelled at math, but flunked English. Or, a world of lawyers, but no musicians. Some people are better at social skills, while others excel at handling technical data. Why not just say that people who have different skillsets and abilities have DIFF-abilities versus making them feel like they have shortcomings?
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