Feature Writer Karen Crowder – Ringing in the New Year

This time of year always spurs memories of past New Year’s celebrations. For me, two years stick out from all of the others.

I remember one New Years’ Eve while Marshall and I lived on Marden Street in Fitchburg. As December 31, 1990 arrived, I was excited to show off our new house and host our first New Year’s Eve party. At eight o’clock that night, seven of us sat in our cozy comfortable living room. Our friends loved our home and the heat after coming in from a cold December night. We all listened to rock, Christmas, and folk music coming from our brand new CD player.

Marshall and I went around serving everyone dips and crackers and chips and delightful citrus beverages I had found in our supermarket. We had started a yearly tradition of exchanging gifts, and I had made sure to mark people’s names in Braille so there was no confusion. That evening flew by, and before we knew it, we were counting down the seconds until 1991 was finally upon us.

The following New Year’s Day was not without incident, as our heat conked out but was promptly fixed by our utility company. Our planned trip to a local restaurant was canceled, too, as Marshall was not feeling well. As a quick improvisation, we had fried chicken from a local restaurant, and everyone liked my French chocolate mousse and coffee. As everyone departed on January 2, we agreed it had been a great party.

Nearly ten years later, New Year’s Eve 1999 was filled with optimism about the upcoming century. Six of us spent part of December 31 at our favorite seafood restaurant in Leominster. We anticipated an extraordinary celebration as we were entering a new millennium. At home, we exchanged gifts–of which I still have the millennium pin and ice-cream scoop I was given. As the TV softly played, we were observing how other countries were ringing in the year 2000.

We had celebrated ten New Years at our home on Marden Street. I couldn’t help thinking to myself “What would this new year and century bring?” On New Year’s Day, the unusually mild weather complimented our mood, as we shared the traditional ham dinner I had prepared.

That would be the last New Year’s Eve we would celebrate together on Marden Street. A blizzard prevented us from celebrating on January 1, 2001 and illness would cancel celebration in 2002.

For me, New Years is always a time for optimism, to think about what will come in the next year and where we’ll be on the next December 31.

How are you readers celebrating New Years?

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