Whatever Lola Wants


Lola and I try to get together two mornings a week for coffee and conversation. Tuesdays for English and Thursdays for Spanish. We meet, usually outside, at Casa Santos, a little café about two blocks away from Lola’s house (six or seven blocks for me). The café has three tables inside and, at this time of year, four outside. The number of outside tables more than doubles in warmer weather. The owners, Santo and his wife, do it all themselves… with warmth and charm. I love going there, even though the little plaza doesn’t get a lot of sun. Our own plaza is very sunny and warm and we love it. It just doesn’t have Santo.


Whether the focus that day is on English or Spanish, we both learn in both languages. I really enjoy my mornings spent with Lola. The always-generous Albert introduced us to Lola when we were here in January. He usually meets us for coffee and conversation Thursday mornings. Albert, who speaks several languages, leaves us to ourselves Tuesdays so Lola doesn’t feel inhibited in her attempts at English.


Lola is a combination of the Lola of “Damn Yankees,” Lola of the Barry Manilow song “Copacabana,” a character from “Sex and the City” (or as it’s called here “Sex in New York”), and Earth Mother. As I said last week (totally inappropriately in Spanish), “the total package.” Whenever I see her, I want to burst into song.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

26 thoughts on “Whatever Lola Wants”

  1. My musicals knowledge is skewed and sketchy and not nearly so comprehensive as my films – do I remember a snippet of 'Whatever Lola wants Lola gets …' from To Wong Foo or somesuch? It's playing in my mind and driving me nuts(nutserer)! If I still have the snippet playing tomorrow I shall blame you! Aaaarrrghh!

  2. It's great to learn a language from friends, that way when you say something stoopid you can have a great laugh about it.

    Wondered who the hunk in 'Damn Yankees' was and it turned out to be "our own" Tab Hunter.

  3. The Owl Wood:
    The original song was from "Damn Yankees" on Broadway and then in film Gwen Verdon was Lola (per the video). Sorry about planting the song in your head. Welcome to my world. I, for better or worse, tend to remember every song I hear. And then a keyword will start it up in my head for years to come. (Which means that every single time I see Lola — or mention her — I start singing either "Whatever Lola Wants" or … much worse … "Copacabana"… Her name was Lola. She was a showgirl. But that was 30 years ago when they used to have a show…

  4. Nubian:
    The time spent with Lola is really fun … and a huge help for us both in improving our language skills. (Let me know if you ever want any help getting rid of that Bronx accent.)

  5. Peter:
    The laughs are the best part. And, sorry I didn't mention Tab Hunter. I saw him in a burger joint in Palm Springs about 10 years ago and he is still a hunk. (When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be like him. Who knew!)

  6. I was fortunate to see Verdon several times on Broadway when I was growing up (also Chita Rivera, another incredible singer/dancer– you've started chains of memory for me with this post!

  7. What ever Mitchell wants, Mitchell gets……just couldn't resist! Ms.Verdon has that effect on me! lol

    Lola sounds and looks like a sweetie! You are both lucky to have each other.
    Europeans are so civilized!

  8. Everybody needs a Lola in thier life!!

    Brilliant that you can 'chat' in Spanish. I wish I was smart enough to speak a foreign language.

  9. Chris:
    I am definitely happy to be able to chat in Spanish. But I wish I could speak intelligently (but then I suppose I've always wished to be able to do the same in English).

  10. I love this idea for learning the language. And what better setting to do it in.
    Living in a town that borders Canada, I taught myself French as a teen. I used to be quite good at conversation. I can't remember the last time I needed it though and have found that Spanish will get me further considering some of the countries I've visited.

  11. I took French for a year when I was in the 4th grade and I loved it. But Spanish has proven a lot more useful for me over the years… especially now! Although I get frustrated at times with my limited proficiency in Spanish, I'm amazed at my improvement in less than 6 months here. Immersion is definitely beneficial.

  12. This is a great way to improve your spoken Spanish and for Lola's spoken English. We have a small self run French conversation group in my village which I love but total immersion has got to be the best way. Keep immersing!

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