I'm not really a New Year's Eve person. When I was really little, I remember the various adults in the family saving their noisemakers, party hats, and Happy New Year tiaras for the kids to enjoy. On the basis of that alone, I though New Year's Eve had to be a fantastic party. I couldn't wait to be old enough to go out. I had many years to content myself with watching the ball drop in Times Square on television. As I got a little older, I was allowed to drink a tiny bit of champagne out of the crystal champagne glasses my grandmother bought in Poland.
(Photo is me after my first New Year's Eve. That giant thing in the background is my grandparents' hi-fi - that huge piece of furniture held speakers and a record player, believe it or not. I'd show it to my iPhone generation children, but no doubt they'd think I was lying. How many of you remember similar things from your childhood?)
Once I finally was old enough to get out of the house on New Year's Eve, I did some fun stuff:
- First Night in Boston
- Toni Tenille on stage in Victor/Victoria
- Party at a hotel on the Boston waterfront (lovely fireworks viewing)
- Parties at various people's homes (including one where I met my now ex-husband)
- Party at the restaurant where my now ex-husband and I had our first date
- Dinner at the restaurant where my current husband and I went on our first date (see a pattern?)
- New Orleans - The Radiators at Tipitina's, then back to the French Quarter
Now, I'm more likely to be home, and not always awake at midnight. The end of the year seems much more appropriate for reflection and recharging for the coming new year. We usually burn sage and try to banish the bad and welcome the good into our hearts and home.
I may not have many excited New Year's Eve stories, but my great-grandparents were married on December 31, 1919. I believe it was a Tuesday, but weekday weddings were not at all unusual at that time. I don't think it was until after World War II that working class people really did it up and had weekend weddings with big parties. None of my grandparents or great-grandparents even have a photo of their wedding day, and reading wedding announcements in the paper from those decades reveals that many brides wore suits at their weekday afternoon weddings. I don't know what my great-grandmother wore, but I quite think that the choice of December 31st for their wedding day was deliberate, so that they could have a party, stay out past midnight, and sleep in the next day.
This is my great-grandparents (on the right), with one of his brothers and the brother's wife:
They are at Salisbury Beach, and they are young. I'd say this was probably 1919, as my great-grandfather had arrived home from World War I by this point, and my grandmother (their daughter) is nowhere in evidence. My great-grandfather died about 20 years later, but my great-grandmother lived on to enjoy the beach for decades, find herself a boyfriend, survive breast cancer, and, in an almost symmetrical way, die after celebrating another new year.
My great-grandmother went out on New Year's Eve 1965 with her boyfriend and friends, after which she returned to her apartment. She was found there on New Year's Day 1966, sitting in a chair in her bedroom. They believe that she sat down to take her shoes off while getting ready for bed and had a massive heart attack. I would like to think that is exactly the way that she would have wanted to go, when her time came.
This year, I will not likely be tempting fate by going out to a party or fiddling with my shoes. I most likely will be at home, barefoot, and knitting. . . exciting, I know!