Happy New Year 2008!

January 3rd, 2008


Marie and Chuck

This is the first time since 1984 that my husband did not get to wear his Tuxedo to ring in the New Year at the stroke of midnight. It was definitely a weird feeling not to be dressed to the ‘nines’ and out partying ala Times Square; only indoors with great food, adult beverages and a world class band playing everything except hip hop and rap music.

Together, we have had 30 of the best New Years Eve celebrations with combo of friends, sometimes a family member or two at most, and have barely gone to bed before sun-up. New Years day always spent in Jammies, dogging around the house, a lot of couch time with football games on for the background noise. Food is mostly junk items all day long having pre-stocked the larders and refrige for every possible craving.

I have no clue how to explain the differences between people who party on New Year’s Eve and those who just stay at home. I cannot understand the stay at home crowd at all as I was born to celebrate a brand new year.

My two brothers and I, as babes, were awakened from our little beds at 11:45 pm every December 31st by Mom and Dad to take to the streets with noise makers in hand, joining the entire neighborhood doing the same. Then for hours, families visited each other’s homes to share an adult beverage to toast the New Year. Everyone shouted “Happy New Year” over and over. People genuinely wished each other well and lots of prosperity.

As we grew up, my goal was to find the best venue for December 31st and the right group to be with for the celebration. Older of the two brothers was a reveler as well and we always found each other at midnight no matter our locations to wish each other Happy New Year. The younger of the brothers is a stay-at-home guy. I never asked why but he did have a little girl so assumed that is what he and his wife chose to do.

As it turns out, many years later, younger brother and I were dining with a visiting cousin from out of state. During the conversation, including childhood memories, he revealed to us his angst his entire life regarding New Years Eve celebration. Cousin and I were absolutely stunned. Brother finally revealed something he has held in since the young age of 8 years old. He hated New Years Eve. Why?

Our family, together with the cousin’s family, was extremely close and spent all holidays together. They lived in New York; we lived in New Jersey – a mere 35 miles door to door. There were 3 children in each family and younger brother had the unfortunate luck (I guess) of being the ‘baby’ and could not always participate in the activities of the older 5. In this instance, the 5 of us from ages 12 to 18 went to Times Square, with no adults, every New Years Eve. Obviously we had a wonderful time and a great tradition. We stayed out all night long. We would go to St. Patrick’s Cathedral to attend the first Mass at 6 a.m. Then we would go out and have a sumptuous breakfast and finally end up at The Brooklyn Paramount Theater to see the annual Alan Freed Rock and Roll Show. This was the mid 50’s and we saw all the stars we loved and whose records we owned. It was the best of times for us and when the show was over, we would return to the New York family home and go to bed for a few hours to get rested for the big family dinner that evening.

Our Parents? They were together, with younger brother, and all the adult relatives and friends who had their own party and they, too, stayed up most of the night (including Grandma.) She would celebrate with some blackberry brandy while cooking the big meal with our Aunt and Mom.

I knew we had a glorious upbringing but did not know the younger brother was so annoyed by that one thing and carried it inside him for so long. Now that we are aged adults, I finally understand why HE is a stay-at-homer but I do hope that no one had such an experience as to deprive themselves of a tradition that has continued to grow to such proportions as to be televised from countries all over the world on each and every December 31st.


This year, I jokingly emailed a special New Years Eve letter to my brother because I was not out, but not at home either. I said, “Gee, I wish I was in Times Square right now just to tick you off.” Not missing a beat with his equal humor, he wrote back only three words:

“(Blank…) Times Square!!”