Lucinda Banks part 3

This last story concerns a certain Luke Reagan. It takes place when I’m 15, and bringing Luke home to meet my family. Lucinda here is 13.

The second he stepped in the I could see Lucy’s cheeks get red. I already knew what was coming. He grinned at her and stuck out his hand.

“Hey, I’m Luke. Have I seen you somewhere before?”

She smiled demurely back and took his hand. Lucy had always been gorgeous, a svelte brunette that I would fully admit was prettier than I.

“I’m Lucy. You’ve probably seen me around with my friends.” He nods at this, staring at her. I frown. This is not how I envisioned my day going.

Thankfully, my parents came in to save the day.

“Hi, Luke! We’ve heard SO much about you! Do you like split-pea soup?” I rolled my eyes. Typical embarrassing parent behavior.

Throughout dinner, Luke and Lucy couldn’t keep their eyes off of each other. I was getting increasingly jealous.

Finally, after we were all fed, I had to shove him out the door from where he was talking to Lucy.

“C’mon Luke, it’s Lucy’s bedtime. I mean she’s only thirteen, and she can’t keep care of herself.” Luke made a face.

“You’re underestimating her, Laura. She’s pretty cool.”

“Yeah, bye.” I said, and closed the door.

He’d sometimes meet up with her, just her, and I’d find myself feeling jealous. I’d calm myself down, but it was all I could do to not confront him about it.

Maybe they were dating all that time and I didn’t know.

Until next time, this is Lollipop, signing off.


Lucinda Banks part 2

2. Monchhichi Dolls

Back in the 80’s there was a small Monchhichi craze at my school. I decided that I had to have one. I begged and begged my parents, but they were adamant in their refusal.

“It’s not your birthday, Lolly!” They would say. “We’re not paying 10 dollars for a doll when you already have so many!”

Of course, I was heartbroken. Here little ol’ nine-year-old me was, and I wasn’t getting what I wanted. Traumatizing.

I spent my days at my friend Mimi’s house, where we played with her seven (SEVEN!!!) Monchhichis. I would play happily for hours, glorying in their freckled faces and inviting blue eyes. Then, every day when I got home, I would cry and cry and cry.

It got so bad that I started cutting out pictures of Monchhichis that I drew and playing with them whenever I wasn’t at Mimi’s. It was really an obsession, and I laugh at myself now, but back then it was really important to me.

I taped all these Monchhichi pictures to my Christmas list, along with the word written in huge letters:


My parents got the point, but they still held out on me. All I got for Christmas was a sweater and a board game that had a note that said “Better than a Monchhichi” on it. It was infuriating. Who were they to not allow me to have one?

One day my sister (who was seven at the time) went off to her friend Amanda’s house and came back with a wad of cash. My ‘rents and I were shocked. She told us that she had done the Heimlich on Amanda’s little brother, and his parents, in gratitude for saving his life, gave her money.

Two days later, while getting into bed, I felt something hard under my pillow. I picked it up, confused. Lying there was a sailor Monchhichi doll with a handwritten note that said:

“Now can you please stop whining about them? – Lucy.”

Of course I did, and I’ve never forgotten what she did for me.

Until next time, this is Lollipop, signing off!

p.s. After I wrote this I felt so nostalgic that I bought myself a Monchhichi! fBuh-bye now!


Lucinda Banks part 1

My infamous sister, the life-wrecker. Formerly a perfectly normal girl by the name of Lucinda Banks, this girl became the devil incarnate when her surname changed to “Reagan.” She is still considered Public Enemy #1. Wanted dead or alive, but preferably dead.

Just kidding. I’ll always love her to some extent. I think it’s probably impossible, when you’ve grown up with someone, not to love them, even if it’s in a twisted way.

Today though, I’m not focusing on our relationship as it is now. I’m focusing on it as it was back when we were kids. I have three stories about Lucinda and me, so let’s get started.

1. The Car Ride

I think everyone who has ever had a sibling has experienced this. You know what I’m talking about: Those interminable car rides when even breathing on each other was annoying. I’d usually “solve” the problem by drawing a line with my finger and threatening that if she ever crossed it she’d be dead.

The particular car ride I’m talking about was a visit to our grandparents’ house. Lucy (her nickname) and I were sitting in the backseat of our station wagon, trying as hard as we could not to touch. I was seven, so Lucinda must have been five.

We were all hungry and tired. My mom, my dad, and I voted to go to Wendy’s, and Lucy wanted McDonald’s. She broke into a crying fit, so we eventually gave in. I still remember that both Lucy and I got Happy-meals and that she got a toy in hers and I didn’t. That’s childish jealousy for you, huh?

When we got back in the car, Lucinda played happily with her new barbie playset and I lay back and stared out the window, my eyes glazed.


Barbie Playset

Suddenly I heard a retching noise beside me. I whipped around, and saw Lucy throwing up into her happymeal box. She looked at me beseechingly.

“Oh, I’ll tell them to pull over,” I said, as she vomited again, “just give me your playset.” She glared at me but nodded weakly, still retching. I quickly screamed to stop the car, glorying in my own cunning.

They pulled over, checked her out, and decided to take her to a hospital because she didn’t look like she was just carsick. Thankfully, there was a hospital not three blocks from where we were. We drove there slowly, careful not to upset her.

By the time we had her checked in and being looked at, I was feeling pretty guilty about blackmailing her into giving me the set. Not guilty enough, however, to return it to her. I know, I was an awful child.

About thirty minutes later, the doctors announced that the cause was food poisoning. Apparently McDonald’s wasn’t the best choice to go for a meal. She was crying when she came out with Mom. Something about no food for the next day.

Finally, I felt bad enough to give her the playset back. When I did, she hugged me and told me I was the best sister ever, which was all it took to make me feel completely fulfilled.

Until part 2, this is Lollipop, signing off!

Random Art

Luke Reagan

I feel like I’m ready to talk about Luke.

I remember vividly my freshman year in high school, sneaking glances at the pretty blond boy on my right. I remember stalking him in the lunchroom, giggling crazily with my friends. I remember picking up a quarter that fell from his pocket and handing it to him. That moment filled me with joy for a couple of weeks.

I thought he was unattainable… until he wasn’t. Until he started talking to me in English class. Until he started walking me home, even though I knew he lived on the other side of town. Until he asked me out on my very first date. Until he told me he loved me for the first time.

That first year was probably the happiest and most nerve-wracking year of my life. Every day I would spend hours in the mirror and in my wardrobe, making sure I was perfect so Luke wouldn’t give up on me.

After the first year, it just felt like we fit together. We became “Luke’n’Lolly,” the couple that everyone wished they could be. Because of Luke, my high school career was a blissfully pain-free one. I was never one of the kids who had an onset of depression while going through puberty. I was popular; I had Luke.

When it came to the beginning of senior year I started to get worried. Would we go to the same college or fall into the trap of so many high school couples who believe they can “make it work?” This was when I started to get somewhat depressed. I felt sick to my stomach often and didn’t enjoy spending time with Luke or my friends like I used to. Luke wrongly interpreted this as my disinterest in the relationship and asked me kindly if I wanted to break things off. I said no, of course, but this led to a brief period in my life where I was sure he didn’t love me. I had never been more heartbroken. Little did I know that it was nothing to what I would feel later.

About three weeks later Luke asked me where I was applying to college. We hadn’t hung out much for a while, so I was mildly surprised by his query. Nonetheless, I told him: Brown, Columbia, Stony Brook University, and Hamilton college. He was enchanted with the idea of Hamilton, a small liberal arts school in New York. He decided to apply along with me, and we joyously found out near the end of the year that we both got in.

Again I was happy. Luke was taking social sciences and communications so he could study to become a human relations specialist. I was taking humanities and sciences, and studying to be a teacher. We would meet up every morning at a coffee shop and hang out, and then we would walk hand in hand to classes. It was bliss.

That bliss was about to end. Luke and I went out one night to meet up with my sister (who was going to Columbia), and her current boyfriend, Barney or Barry or something. It was at some barbecue place right in the middle of the two colleges. Lucinda and Luke hadn’t seen each other in years, and I had always known that she had a small crush on him. He apparently had more than a small crush on her.

They spent the entire night talking, and for weeks after I would catch Luke checking his e-mail and calls constantly. I asked him why he was so frantic, and he would mutter something about a contest and hurry off. Not long after that, he uttered me the words everyone dreads to hear: “It’s not you, it’s me.”

Three days later I heard he was dating my sister. That remains, to this day, the worst feeling I had ever experienced. Pain and hurt and jealousy and betrayal, all layered on top of one another in an awful mixture. He transferred from Hamilton to Columbia to be with her, and I found myself alone and depressed. I’d relied on him for companionship, and now that he was gone, I had almost no one.

In the midst of my graduation, Luke was off on a honeymoon with my sister, who I had hardly spoken to since they got together. I was bitter and cold. Right after, I was snatched up for my first job in NYC, as a teacher’s aide. My parents never even congratulated me, as they were teary-eyed over Lucinda’s romantic wedding, which I had declined to attend.

So Lucinda has Luke, my parents’ love, three adorable children, and a huge circle of friends, and I just teach, blog, and drink tea with two other tittering ladies and our dogs. I could have had her life, if she hadn’t been in the way. There’s a reason for my hatred.

Until next time, this is Lollipop, signing off!




Two years after getting Archie I found Sugar. My old college friend, Armand Green, had just bought a purebred Havanese female. He was a single man, and soon after buying Sugar (then called Daisy),  he found that she was too much of a burden for him. He worked as an accountant in the city for most of the day, and when he came home at night Sugar would get so excited she would make herself sick. He remembered from a Christmas card I had sent him two years ago that I was a fan of Havanese dogs, and so he called me up.

I had actually been thinking of getting another dog, preferably a Havanese dog of some sort, but I hadn’t had much luck. When Armand called me, I was delighted. I consented immediately, and Armand, sweetie that he was, gave me Sugar for free.

The reason for her name was that I got her on the day of the dead. When Armand rang my doorbell I was on the couch, watching a day of the dead special. As soon as we opened the latch on the doggie door, Sugar bounded out enthusiastically, settled herself on my chair, and started to contentedly gaze at the dancing skeletons on screen.

Later that day, when I was taking both her and Archie for a walk, we passed a vendor selling sugar skulls for day of the dead. Sugar, being a rambunctious little puppy, jumped up and snatched one with her teeth. I apologized profusely to the vendor, but she would have none of it. She insisted on bagging one for me as well, and let me off free of charge, telling me to put the skull on my mantelpiece, where I still have it to this day.

The cutie held the skull in her teeth for the rest of the walk. On the way home I had already internally christened her “Sugar.”

Until next time, this is Lollipop, signing off!


Sugar skulls like the ones I have


When I feel the need for company, I call up my girlfriends and we’ll go out to one of the dog-friendly coffee shops around the city. My personal favorite is Oslo Coffee Roasters, though it’s a bit of a walk. My friends, Kathrin Abel and Suzie Mason, take the bus with me (and our dogs) to Metropolitan Avenue and walk to Oslo from there.

I always order tea of the day. To other people, I come off as a somewhat prissy lady with a bunch of pampered dogs. I’m well aware of that, and I think it might look strange to my friends if I ordered a triple espresso shot, which is what I really want.

After ordering and stirring in monstrous amounts of cream and sugar, our trio of ladies moves outside, where we sit on a bench, gossipping. I’m not sure I enjoy that part. We don’t really have much to gossip on. We work different jobs and live in different parts of the city, but we’ve been friends since college. Also, though none of us wants to admit it, we’re afraid to branch out, no matter how sick of each other we are. So there we sit, week after week, chattering about our mundane lives and trying to make them exciting.

Hopefully, this week is better. The ladies have never met Patch, and I’m sure there will be a flurry of excitement and perfumed kisses all around him. I’m worried, though, that he won’t be able to handle the attention. He’s clearly not the best-trained dog around. Maybe he’ll behave for the women, but I’m not sure.

Maybe after we’ll do some window-shopping, If Patch is up to it. I hope so.

Until next time, this is Lollipop, signing off!



Oslo Coffee Roasters




I got Archie from an ASPCA animal shelter when he was 4 months old. I was going through a tough time in my life. I had just been laid off my teaching job, and I was worried about what was to come. Suddenly, I recalled one of the many conversations I had enjoyed with Luke Reagan so many years ago.

“If you’re ever feeling lonely,” he said, holding my hand, “Meaning, of course, that you’re without me, you shouldn’t hesitate to get a dog.” I remember distinctly looking at him, confused.

“How did that get brought up?” I asked. We had just been having a playful conversation on birds.

“I dunno, just… I had a rescue dog when I was little and it changed my life.”

“Okay…” I said, tucking the information into a distant corner of my brain where it was promptly forgotten… until I found myself lonely and without Luke twenty years later.

Taking his advice, I rushed to the shelter. The robust woman at the front desk joyfully explained that an entire litter of Havanese puppies had just been brought in from an abusive breeder, and they were ready for adoption.

Without even looking at the puppy I signed the form. I was just that desperate. While I was paying and she was bringing it out, I looked at the form describing Havanese traits and perks. I was astonished to find that it was just the kind I was looking for.

As soon as I saw Archie, of course, I was in love. He looked back and forth from the lady to me, the lady, me, and then bounded over and gave me tiny little laps all across the face. That’s where I got the idea for his name. Archie after the Archie in Riverdale that found it so hard to choose between Betty and Veronica.

Archie smoothed over my rough patch with his affection and caring. Honestly, I don’t know if I could have done it without him. Together, we make an awesome team.

Until next time, this is Lollipop signing off!