Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Memories - Traditions

New Years traditions - from the questions by Miriam at

Do you remember the first time you were allowed to stay up and see in the New Year? How old were you? How did you and your typically spend New Year's Eve during your youth?

I grew up in Los Angeles. My brother was 4 years older than me, so whatever he did, I followed. When we were very young my father strung a microphone/intercom from my bedroom to the neighbor's living room to hear any commotion when we were supposed to be asleep. I'm sure it was more than two tin cans and a string. This was in the late 1940's. I mostly remember that New Year's was a neighborhood event, with my parents getting together with neighbors to play canasta once in a while and usually on New Year's for several years when we were growing up. The grown-ups would sit in the living room (front room) and the kids would be in my brother's room. We had lots of snacks like peanuts and pretzels. Sodas were generally not available, I got sick on them anyway. My brother was the oldest of our "gang" in the neighborhood, and I was the youngest. The others were boys. So I usually got the brunt of any war or fight we were having. But I held my own. My brother knew how to play poker, so that's where I learned, at about age six. We mostly played a game called "Rummy Royal" or listened to records, 78s I think. I remember we would jump on the bed bouncing around acting crazy to the song "Cocktails For Two" and anything "Spike Jones and His City Slickers" did. . (see e-Bay pic at right) The zanier, the better. Of course we blew little paper horns and used whatever noise makers we had at midnight. Nobody used fireworks, I don't think they were even thought of. However one year, when I was visiting at the house in Los Angeles with my baby daughter in about 1971, someone fired a gun in the air and the bullet came down through the roof and ceiling into the bedroom where we slept.

*How did you typically spend New Year's Day in your childhood and youth? Did you visit family and friends? Did your family host an Open House? Did you watch the Tournament of Roses Parade and Rose Bowl game or another favorite sport?

We always, always watched the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena on television, and a couple times went to see it in person. We didn't have any big dinner or open house on New Year's day, that I recall. We often watched the Rose Bowl football game on TV, after the parade, especially if any friends came over. I loved to see the Rose Parade, and still do. Later, on 1 Jan 1988, my daughter was in the parade as a flag twirler in the color guard from Overland High School in Aurora, Colorado. It was wonderful to see her marching in the parade. We drove up there early from Hemet as we were staying at my Dad's new home in Hemet, CA. I videotaped the parade and then took a photo of the television screen as we later replayed the video, and put it on pause, when she marched by. That way I was able to uniquely capture that moment that she made her television debut! But it was so great to see all in person! (see photo of 2009 Rose Parade from TV)

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