I can start by eliminating at least the first 10 or 12. Some of those, I was obviously too young to remember and the others were just another night and day. I have a memory bank chock full of childhood memories, but for the life of me, I cannot recall any memories, good or bad, of childhood NYE celebrations. It either wasn't high on the list of celebrated holidays in my parents' home or I went to sleep early and never knew of any frivolity taking place downstairs. I do know we went to church on New Year's morning.
When I reached junior high age, we had moved to town and NYE celebrations seemed pretty important. I have great memories of parties at a classmate's house. The parents were home but they only appeared occasionally to ask if we needed more pop or chips; at least that was the reason they gave for coming downstairs to the rec room. (If you remember the term rec room, you must be as old as me.)
There were probably 20 or more kids in the basement, playing games and eating. We all brought our entire stack of 45 records and danced all night. There was some pairing off of couples, as I recall, but only to steal a quick kiss, not to disappear to some bedroom.
One very memorable NYE, I agreed to baby-sit for a couple with 3 children. I must have been coerced by my parents or I really wanted the money for something special; I don't recall, but they lived in a creepy old house that made lots of weird noises. Due to some remodeling they were doing, there was a huge hole in the middle of the living room floor. It went clear down to the black basement. There was also a large organ in the dining room and due to some electrical short, it would play a few notes every once in a while. I had never been to their house before and I was scared to death. I couldn't leave, of course, but I wanted to. That was the longest night in history. I looked at the clock every 2 minutes but the hands never seemed to move.
Then there was the NYE when I was a little older. I went with my boyfriend (he later became my husband) and a few other couples, to a huge dance at the Coliseum. I think it was called the Fireman's Ball at that time. Whew. Dancing, laughing and some serious drinking taking place. I was not 21 but I don't think there was any checking of ages. That was the first and last time I was totally inebriated. I did not remember all the humorous things I seemingly said that night, but everyone else seemed to remember them and they reminded me quite often. I am too much of a control freak to let that happen again. I can say stupid things without drinking; but at least I remember what I said. The one vivid memory I have is of my bed spinning one direction while the bedroom seemed to be turning in the opposite direction. Nope, never happened again. I am a fast learner.
There was a NYE when Tom and I were invited to a party at a friend's house. We took our neighbor's along. The only problem was the ice storm that coated everything in about an inch of ice. It was so icy, it wasn't safe to drive and we should have stayed home, but of course, we couldn't do that. We had a babysitter for the kids and I had a new dress and some gorgeous high heels...we were going. There was nowhere to park as the street was packed with cars sliding in all directions. After circling the block a few times, we found a spot. The next problem was the drive, which was not flat, but quite slanted. Picture this: New dress, high heels, ice-covered driveway. You would have thought those stilettos would have dug right in, but alas, they didn't. After several attempts at walking up the drive, we all sort of crawled up to the house. This time, I had no alcohol and I was crawling. The sensible thing would have been to go home, but we couldn't do that, of course. Not until after midnight.
The year of 1983, we spent NYE in a hotel room. It wasn't just Tom and me, but the whole family. Our house burned on Christmas day. Because it was uninhabitable, we lived in 2 hotel rooms until other housing could be found. I was 8 months pregnant, all our clothing was in the house and I couldn't have walked in high heels if I wanted to. We definitely did not celebrate that NYE.
I spent more than one NYE in the barn, either delivering pigs or goats. No pretty dress or high heels on those nights, either; they had been replaced by warm boots and coveralls.
Now, most of my NYE are spent at home with Kalisha or a few friends. Pretty quiet, but the new year seems to come, regardless of what we do the night before.
No matter how you choose to spend your time while ushering the old year out and the new year in, remember to be safe and happy. When the clock strikes midnight, you will have another 8,760 hours until it comes around again. Do something creative and new and exciting and helpful with those hours. Smile more, frown less. Pray more, complain less. Give more, take less. Listen more, talk less.
I WISH YOU A HAPPY AND BLESSED NEW YEAR...2014