Sauerkraut balls, bubbly champagne, and midnight kisses notwithstanding, the long-awaited New Year’s Eve Date was highly over-rated.
From about the age of fourteen the push was on, as magazines, movies, television, newspapers…all extolled the glamour and excitement of the parties and celebrations of New Year’s Eve.
There were two major criteria for a stereotypical New Year’s Eve to be officially successful: the Magic Age of Twenty One–and A DATE.
Alas…for various obvious reasons, my ideal perfect date, involving a handsome escort–required to be old enough to gain admittance to a gala ballroom in a romantic city, and be of sufficient financial resources to pay for the evening revelry–was always just beyond my reach. (OK, way beyond…but this is my tale and I’m sticking to it.)
My actual first legal-age New Years Eve was in 1955…a week after my arrival in Germany to join my army husband. We had not yet moved into the official US Army living quarters, which were still under actual construction, and were living in a small German-owned apartment. New Year’s Day 1956 marked the first day of the official German sovereignty return, following World War II.
There was no gala celebration, no fabulous ballroom, no champagne…nothing any where similar to the stereotypical New Year’s Eve bashes promoted by the fancy magazines. Actually it didn’t even enter my mind that I had finally achieved the Magic Age of 21 and, although I did have a handsome husband…he was disinclined to partying on the German economy. We MAY have attended a movie on the military base.
The following year on the Eve of 1957, we did celebrate the occasion with friends from downstairs…and we all played Pinochle. This was fun, but not really a special celebration…we always played card games, Pinochle or Canasta, for example…or board games like Scrabble or Monopoly. Besides, I was pregnant, so there went the fancy ballgown and dance shoes, any extravagant evenings out on the town.
…fast forward about thirty years…
After remarriage, we did do some reveling on New Year’s Eves…small parties among a small group of friends, mostly laughing and telling jokes, … or attending such as local Civic Balls (more fun than it sounds) and dances…or a Game Night…. held in a rental hall somewhere in town.
A few New Year’s Eves we were in Mexico, or Portugal, or Arizona or somewhere else. Once we were invited to a large private party in Mexico City…that was fun. We were in Lisbon at the time that the US was involved in invading Panama, which did not make us popular with the Portuguese…at least I felt a chill from the locals, and a kind man in a pub invited us to sit at his table and he told us that we (Americans) were sort of shunned.
Then we just stayed home on New Year’s Eve…maybe went out to dinner and then sat around listening to music and having snacks and red wine, or maybe champagne… At this point I usually declined sitting up to watch the “ball drop” in New York City. The New Year did not depend on my attention to become active.
So I never did achieve my dream of the Perfect New Year’s Eve date. No gala extravaganzas…no dancing like Ginger Rogers in a glittering flowing gown… but then I have always been something of a Dreamer, and although being a Dancer was high on my things I wanted to do when I grew up…my absolute lack of rhythm or dance poise completely dashed that aspiration. Besides, I think Ginger Rogers had red hair….
Happy New Year 2016 everyone!!!