Happy 2016 to my dear readers!
Last night I tried to remember past New Year’s Eves. Since there have been sixty-five of them, many have disappeared into the black hole that I call my memory. Here are three that pop into mind.
NORTH CAMDEN—THE FIFTIES FUN My dad and other neighborhood men put on ladies’ hats and bathrobes, red lipstick and rouge and danced on narrow Grant Street to “Oh, Dem Golden Slippers” that blared from speakers on someone’s porch. The women shook their heads at the nonsense. They took the night off, eating pretzels and chips, drinking coffee and smoking Viceroys. We kids ran from row house to row house, eating cookies and drinking Tru-Ade, jubilant to be up at midnight without supervision.
RUTGERS CAMDEN —1969. DOUBLE DATE I thrilled to have a date with a boy who was tall, dark and handsome—I now regard a male of age twenty as a boy. About ten-thirty p.m., the two boys in their good suits suggested that we drive to New York City to ring in the New Year.
We nineteen-year-old girls doubted our mothers would let us, but we called them and the moms said okay. Decades later, my mother told me she wanted to call back and say no, no, no! but we had called from a pay phone. (Remember when we had no cell phones?) Since she couldn’t rescind this potentially dangerous permission, she went into the bathroom and cried.
The other boy drove us to New York City, but we got there after the ball dropped. The four of us didn’t have much money, but we stopped at a pancake house and had coffee and pastries. Back we went to Camden—it was not the dangerous evening that my mother had envisioned, but how fun for us two girls to be cute in our mini-dresses, to go out with two nice boys and to say that we had gone to New York City for the start of 1970.
PENNSAUKEN Y2K—do you remember that New Year’s Eve when we thought all the computers would stop functioning? I almost stopped functioning because I didn’t sleep all that night. Thank goodness I was very young—six weeks short of fifty. The (forty?) kids in the GLEAM program that I directed wanted to stay up all night and since they were well-behaved, I let them. They played basketball and watched movies. Another church member and I spent the night washing dishes and leaving the kitchen one at a time to check on the kids. I felt jet-lagged for three days after that. This is a fond memory because fifteen years later, I know that I could not stay awake all night for any reason now.
Happy New Year to all of you!
Love from Marguerite (Wunsch) Ferra, Cramer Hill