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I am a financial journalist, but I am also a man, with a beating heart and a tender soul at autumn's whim. Now, as the wind grows brisker and the leaves crisper, I find my thoughts turning, yearning, to the binders of women in my life. 

There was Ms. Beeman, my fifith-grade teacher, whose wry, dimpled smile still sounds the "Mrs. Robinson" theme in my heart (if only) and who taught fractions more effectively than 89.7 percent of her cohort. Her average Q2 results alone beat those of half her peers in the Northeast, and this was a woman who played U2 in her Mazda as she sailed out of the parking lot at the end of the day, on a cushion of air, it seemed to me. 

Then there was Clair Huxtable, never really mine, it's true, but tell that to a boy in love. Many are familiar with her thrilling laugh and Platonic cheekbones; fewer, perhaps, with her success rate as a litigator (91 percent) and her sly, pantherlike prowess as a fixed-income investor, consistently outperforming Cliff, no slouch himself.

And I'll be nice and cold in my grave before I forget Jenna Reiner, my college passion. That wild, tawny mane. Those exemplary shins (variation from the mean: 0.012 on the Schlossberg scale of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; p. 138, "Women With Very Smooth Shins," Davidson and Baruch, 1996). That arch smile luring me from my case studies to her dorm room for a crazy midafternoon session of regression analysis. Climbing the ivied walls of her quad at 2 a.m. to assess her viability over the next eight quarters as she slept like an angel. No, like a panther. 

Not to mention the woman I married. The bewitching Carla remains firmly in the top quintile.

Bring on the earnings, the 10-Qs, the indices. Let the numbers thrum and the dollars fly, in the here and now. It is autumn, and a piece of my heart (16.4 percent) must remain in the past, as I consider, happily haunted, the binders of women in my life.

Write to Peter Jeffrey at

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