squint into the sunny, shimmery sea of idling, just-washed black
Land Rovers, Escalades, Excursions and Navigators, searching for
Mrs. Ludington. Tate’s carpool lane looks exactly like a new
SUV lot, except for the fact that right here, right now every
tinted window is cracked just enough to reveal a pink-clad Stepford
army of tiny, tan blondes all riding high and gesturing wildly into
Laffy-Taffy-colored cell phones.
And yet I can still easily pick out my speed-dialing mommy.
Mrs. Ludington has the dog who is dressed just like her.
I have seen the duo pictured together numerous times in the society
pages. They come as a set --- this blonde heiress and her snow
The famed LulaBelle, Mrs. Ludington’s “showdog,”
is a fluffy, white cock-a-poo-something-or-other for which I heard
she paid $10,000. LulaBelle, who actually looks like a frayed
athletic sock, is riding shotgun and yapping at anything that
happens to move. Which is everything in carpool. LulaBelle is
wearing pink doggles and a pink gingham bow on her collar, and a
little pink tanktop that says “My Dogs Are
Barkin’.” Even her little nails are painted pink. If
she had opposable thumbs, I am quite confident LulaBelle would be
on a cell phone barking orders to her maid and sipping a no-fat
Starbuck’s iced latte just like many of these mothers.
The color pink is primary at Tate Academy, for many of these
mothers and pets. Lilly Pulitzer pink, to be exact. Pink is not an
accent color here, a side swatch. It is not simply a pop of pink,
like a begonia in a window box. It is the color.
I walk cheerfully up to the Escalade, waving like a hitchhiking
Moonie, and peek in the tiny opening of the passenger window.
“You’re tardy,” is how she greets me, like
I’m a third-grader who forgot to get a bathroom pass.
Mrs. Ludington is ensconced in a shrunken pink Lilly Pulitzer polo
and pink floral-and-heart capris. She looks like an animated
begonia, a floral DreamWorks character who has plucked herself from
one of our windowboxes and taken to the streets to find her
longlost mother, the petunia.
I have already held lots of meetings standing outside an SUV ---
making deals, bartering, begging, schmoozing, pleading, finally,
reluctantly agreeing to a situation that makes me wholly
I am a hooker.
At least, I try and convince myself, I’m a high-class
I can’t do this another year. Please, God, not another
To grab my attention, Mrs. Ludington proceeds to gun her Escalade
with a pink-bedecked espadrille, the SUV jolting forward, dragging
my body alongside. I look at her, my eyes wild, my nails gripped to
the top of the windowframe.
“I thought that might do the trick. My God, for a moment I
thought you were in a coma.”
She begins dumping the contents of her Louis Vuitton Speedy 30
carryall into the passenger seat. LulaBelle dances excitedly over
lipsticks and perfume bottles and a thank-you note from the
“So … what I want you to do is take my Louis bag
and make the background for the new reunion invite match their
logo. Isn’t it just brilliant?”
Are you kidding me? I don’t even get it, except that
she’s obsessed with Louis Vuitton and wants to show off her
Confessions of a Prep School Mommy Handler: A Memoir