New Year’s Eve—Then and Now

“By the time you realize what your father was telling you was true, your own kids are telling you you’re wrong”—Wayne Gretzky


Ahhh, Gretzky…the Great One, you are so right.

Christmas 2016 is over, wrapping paper shreds and empty shirt boxes litter my living room and my youngest asks me what the next holiday is. I tell him, “Valentine’s Day is next.”

My freshman reminds me New Year’s Eve is next.

New Year’s Eve…

To him, this counts as a holiday. He probably has plans for that night. “Uh oh,” I think. Because I remember how exciting New Year’s Eve was. Maybe not as a freshman in high school, but definitely my college years.

I remember one in particular, twenty five years ago, I was a sophomore in college and not yet even 21 years old. The world was quite different back then.


I believe it went something like this…


10:30 am- Wake up, think about and miss terribly my boyfriend who went back home to New Jersey for Christmas break. Think about how awful it is to have a whole month off between semesters till I get to see him again.  After tears and listening to “Love of a Lifetime” by Firehouse on the radio, head downstairs and peruse the recently acquired gifts and presents from parents and large extended family. Admire new overalls from The Gap, contemplate wearing them with one strap down.  Maybe watch some TV. Possibly eat breakfast, most likely not.

12:00 pm-Call one of my best friends, Amy, on the kitchen phone to find out what we’re doing tonight. Get mad because phone cord won’t reach into living room where there is more privacy.

Wall Phone Beige Telephone   by LavenderGardenCottag:

12:30-Decide that it’s a very good idea to drive down to Amy’s school, the University of Illinois, where there’s several parties we can go to. Only about 3 hours away down I-57, never mind that it is snowy, about 10 degrees, and I-57 is surrounded by farmland. Feel lucky because Amy’s roommate Mia will drive since she is the only one with a car. Tell parents what plans are so they don’t worry. Remind them you will be home “sometime” the next day.  Wonder what New Jersey boyfriend will be doing and pray he doesn’t meet a cute Jersey Girl and ring in the New Year with her.

2:30-Pack for the overnight. Be sure to include a scrunchie or two for a quick and easy ponytail for the ride home. Also include acid wash jeans, maybe a plaid flannel shirt, wish that I had some Doc Martens.

doc martens

Double check for toothbrush, don’t bother with glasses or contact lens case because sleeping with contacts in eyes for one night won’t hurt anything. Triple check for fake ID. Have about $30 in cash from summer job working at Bennigan’s in case there’s an emergency.

4:30pm-Get picked up for road trip. Check once again that fake ID is in backpack. (Who bothered with a purse or wallet?) Wave bye to the parents. Admire Mia’s vintage car with her dead hamster on the dashboard that she stuffed herself. (One of Mia’s hobbies was taxidermy). Have backseat of car all to myself and stretch out. No seatbelt for me! (I wonder if that vintage car even had seatbelts?) Think how wonderful Amy is that she thought to bring  a Baker’s Square French Silk Pie with her.

5:00pm-While on the road, listen to mixed cassette tape Amy made filled with a variety of hits like, “Gonna Make You Sweat” by C+C  Music Factory, “Unbelievable” by EMF, “Good Vibrations” by Markie Mark and the Funky Bunch, “I Wanna Sex You Up” by Color Me Badd. Talk about a new kind of music hitting the radio from Seattle and a band by the name of Nirvana. Hit rewind and play “Right Here Right Now” by Jesus Jones and think about how prophetic it is. Keep wondering about Jersey Boy. Mention his name frequently.

Right Here, Right Now

5:45pm- Wonder why Amy included The Partridge Family Greatest Hits on cassette…

6:00pm-Talk and chat and chat and talk about things like if Dylan and Brenda will ever do it, the latest Cheers episode, and a little something we heard about called “the internet.”   Reminisce about The Bulls winning the Championship over the summer and how awesome Michael Jordan is, worry about  something called Operation Desert Storm, really worry about the AIDS epidemic and be sad about Freddie Mercury’s passing.

6:30pm-Stop all conversation as the car starts sputtering and coughing and comes to a halt on the side of the road. The side of I-57. In the middle of Illinois cornfields. Where it is very, very dark. And very, very cold.

6:33pm-Figure out that Mia’s vintage car has a broken gas gauge and, in our New Year’s Eve excitement, we forgot to put gas in the car before we left home. Come to the conclusion that we are out of gas. Wish Jersey Boy was here.

6:35pm-Decide to flag down a truck driver who is parked on the OTHER SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY!!! Hide in the back of the car under a blanket as two other friends CROSS HIGHWAY to speak to truck driver. Think about eating Baker’s Square French Silk Pie.  Try not to think of one of my favorite movies that year…



6:45pm-Wait for State Trooper to show up and talk about how nice the truck driver was and how convenient it is that he has a CB and can radio a police car for us. Laugh about how silly we are to forget to put in gas.

7:00pm-Ride safely in the back of the police car to the nearest town where the trooper drops us off at a McDonald’s so we can use the phone to call friends from U of I to pick us up. Buy some french fries so we have some change for the pay phone. Be sad about the fact that I don’t have enough change to make a long-distance phone call to New Jersey. Talk about how fortunate we are that we ran out of gas so close to U of I and don’t have to travel much longer.

8:00pm-Finally arrive at Amy’s apartment at U of I with car full of gas, backpacks and Baker’s Square French Silk Pie. Run up stairs to apartment and watch as Amy trips up the stairs and lands right on the Baker’s Square French Silk Pie. Laugh till I pee my pants. Try to salvage what is left of pie and place it in fridge.

8:30pm-Take nap.

9:30pm-Have a beer or two before getting ready.

10:00pm-Start getting ready to go out. Put on acid wash jeans and colorful sweatshirt. Make hair as big as possible and spray with Aqua Net. Put on some eye-liner and mascara, maybe some blush, and ready to go. Lace up the Reebok High tops. Be happy because we looked like this:


10:30pm-Go to party. Meet new people. Play various drinking games like Quarters. Lose a lot. Think about Jersey Boy and wonder where he is.

10:59pm-Go outside on balcony as the clock rings 11pm Central Time and stare up at stars knowing it is now 1992 for Jersey Boy because he lives in the Eastern Time Zone. Make Amy celebrate East Coast New Year’s too. Don’t understand when she looks at you like you’re weird.

11:03pm-Think about drowning sorrows of long distance relationship woes by eating entire Baker’s Square French Silk Pie, but have a beer instead. Laugh as Amy plays Partridge Family cassette and party stops to figure out what went wrong with the music.

12:00am-Toast to the New Year, sing Auld Lang Syne, dance like no one is watching, hug my new friends from the party, be sure they will be my friends for the rest of my life. (Amy still is.)

3:30am-Walk back to Amy’s apartment and marvel how it doesn’t feel cold outside anymore. Don’t make connection that perhaps we had too much to drink and can’t feel the cold.

4:00am-Eat Baker’s Square French Silk Pie but don’t bother to cut it up. Just take a fork and eat what’s left of it after it fell down the stairs. Think about how yummy it is.

4:30am-fall asleep on the couch. Whisper good night to Jersey Boy.

12:00pm-Make sure there is enough gas in tank for ride home. Drive home with less conversation, stop at a White Castle’s for some nourishment. Start to notice eyes feel dry and make mental note to take out contacts when I get home.

3:00pm-Arrive home, and when parents ask how night was, say truthfully that it was a lot of fun. Leave out several key details.

3:15pm-Take a nap. For as long as I want.


I can guarantee my New Year’s Eve twenty five years later is much different. It will probably consist of trying to make dinner reservations somewhere and being pissed because I waited till the last minute. I will probably end up putting on my new flannel pj’s from Vermont at about 7pm( which are A-MAZ-ING and a gift from my Jersey Boy, who is now my husband of twenty years, by the way.) I will probably have my contacts out and be wearing my glasses. I will probably surf the internet and check my Facebook pages. I will probably wonder if maybe I should’ve asked for Botox for Christmas. I will be mad I didn’t make an appointment to have my roots colored.  There won’t be a Baker’s Square French Silk Pie anywhere near my fork.  I will probably keep checking my “find my iPhone” app to confirm the whereabouts of my teenage son. I will probably have called the parents of where he will be to make sure they will be home and no alcohol is allowed.  I will probably spend a lot of time praying he makes good choices and is safe. I will probably wish my younger son would like to hang out with his mom for a little while. I will probably snuggle up with my Jersey Boy and watch a movie and fall asleep half way through.

Amazing how the years fly by, isn’t it?

I wonder what Amy is doing?


Peace and Love in 2017



6 thoughts on “New Year’s Eve—Then and Now

  1. Love you Girlie!! Love to read your stories! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, your jersey boy and those beautiful kids you have!!

  2. Kathy, write a book!! I love reading your short stories so much!! It could’ve been me, I always think!! I can realate!! Loved this one especially!! Happy 2017 !!!!

  3. Oh my gosh! I was laughing so hard reading this, I almost peed my pants! That was definitely a memorable New Years!! (Although I didn’t remember the details about the partridge family theme song, it does sound like something I’d do!). My New Years to 2017 will be something like yours. We will be driving home from Wisconsin that day and I will make sure we have gas! And I may even make it to stay awake til midnight.

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