Sunday, December 31, 2017

Ringing in the New Year: How did you celebrate? How do you celebrate now?

Another New Year's Eve, bringing memories, hopes, cheers, and even a few fears as we move into 2018: 

We lived in the city of Chicago when I was very small, in the neighborhood known as Pilsen.  My grandmother lived just a block away, and one of my aunts and uncles lived just two blocks away.  I remember New Year's Eve celebrations at my Grandma's house.  We rang cowbells!  As we were little kids, we tried to stay up until the New Year rang in and that was quite a treat.  That was it!  But we knew it was a special night from the time we were little.

Mae West celebrating New Year 1936 with tinsel. (John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)

Other memorable New Year's Eves?

I remember putting on makeup, sparkly makeup, at my parents' house when I was 15.  I believe a friend or two was with me that night.. just girls waiting for the years when we would be more grown up and we could put on that sparkly make up, fancy dresses, and party.  When I was 18, my first Christmas holiday home from college, I went to see Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid with a high school friend.  We were riding home just as the New Year rang out. 

Party Like It's 1999

We celebrated New Year's Eve 1999 at Navy Pier where, at the time, we had a stall selling toys.  My son and one of his friends were with us and I remember Prince's "Party Like 1999" song playing over and over as we watched the fireworks over the Pier.  A year later, on New Year's Eve 2000, we climbed to the rooftop of our home to watch the same fireworks at Navy Pier, but they were far away that year.  

I never went to many New Year's parties, and the parties I did go to were  unmemorable.  We had small parties at home; shrimp and seafood and fondue were big menu items.  Most New Year's Eves in Chicago have been cold, of course, though not all of them were as bone-chilling as New Year's 2018 is scheduled to be.  (It's supposed to be a good three degrees below zero tonight as 2017 passes the baton to 2018.)    

Last year I was driving for Uber on New Year's Eve, but I called it a night around 11 p.m., as the reveling passengers appeared to be more and more inebriated.  So another quiet welcome to New Year 2017 was spent at home.     

So tonight?  I will work until 9:30 p.m., and probably won't be home until 10:30 p.m.  Then we will stay cozy and warm.  No special foods, other than a bubbly toast in beautiful champagne glasses, the only time during the year we use them.  I'll come out of the house at midnight to shout Happy New Year! into the cold of our neighborhood and I'll listen for fireworks and bells.  (I wish I knew what happened to that New Year's cowbell that my Grandmother had.)  

So have a Happy New Year, everyone!  Stay warm and, if you are out drinking, don't drive!  Ubers, sober friends, and free mass transit rides are your friends as we roll the clock over to 2018. 

And here are a few links with information and thoughts about New Year's celebrations:


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