Mom and Dad had New Year’s Eve parties. They were not really parties, they involved the family and were a bit different. When we were children we would try to stay up late so we could go outside and make noise at midnight. This was a tradition that Mom and Dad had. We did not always make it until then since we were so young. This was a night to play games and watch television. We had all sorts of snacks during the evening, complete with some left over Christmas goodies! When we did make it up until midnight, it seemed that great things happened! It was such fun to go outside and make noise. Mom gave us pots and pans and wooden spoons and we would get to bang on them as hard as we could. Clang! Clang! Clang! I always liked the angel food cake pan. You could put your hand in the middle of the pan and bang away! The older brothers would fire shotguns into the air. We could hear the other neighbors making noise as well and some had firecrackers. It seemed such fun to be able to go outside late at night and make noise! I have no idea why they thought of going outside and making noise, but hey, I happily participated. It was fun and it was really neat! The sounds of talking in the distance, sounds of merriment and noise-making echoing through the woods and the area was something to hear! Some noises were muffled as they were more in the distance and we would try to guess what neighbors were doing what. This was such excitement for little kids and the grown ups seemed to enjoy it too!! After the noisemaking, Mom honored the tradition that a man had to be the first person through the door of the house the first day of the year, so we had to wait for Dad or one of the brothers to enter the house first. If a woman/girl entered first, she would have you walk out backwards so a man could then enter. Walking out backwards must have “un-done” your entrance. I think some of the times, we would open the door so we could let the old year out and let the new year in.
After the noise making, mom and the older children would come in and call relatives and friends. All of the phone prefixes started with the same number then so if the year was 1965, they would disguise their voice and call people and say is this 1-9-6-5? They would for some reason find it funny if the person would say no and they would laugh and say yes it is! They would shout “Happy New Year!” They would only talk for a brief moment as they had others to call and do the same thing to and they did not want them to beat them to it!
The bad part of this was the next day. There was some sort of food mom had to serve. I am shocked that I do not remember this, as I was always upset that she made it, mainly because I did not care for it. It was either cabbage, or beans and corn bread. It was something that she said was to be the traditional first meal of the new year. I do not know which it was. Her mother was German, so I am thinking it was cabbage. Well, I have talked with a reliable source, my cousin, Scottie, …and he states that it was corned beef brisket, and cabbage, boiled with potatoes and carrots. He still eats it every New Year’s Eve! Scottie, I never really cared for it, but I am thankful you were there to remember for me.
When our own children, were younger, we would have snacks and sparkling grape juice to toast with at midnight. We would play some games and perhaps watch a movie. We enjoyed watching the yearly countdowns, top music, top news, etc. As the children aged, we would host game nights with plenty of food. We would allow the friends to all stay over (in fact we preferred it) so no one would be out driving with the ones who drive and drink. We would go outside at midnight and make noise, but we never heard anyone else and it felt sort of silly to be doing that. The kids did not really see the point, so we stopped that. We would serve breakfast for the ones who stayed over. Some times, we would have the same type of thing at church and stay there until midnight or later. The church sort of lost interest in this or the people did, so we had it at our home mostly. We always liked to provide alternatives for the children. We had such great times on New Year’s Eve.
No game night tonight! All of the children and their friends are grown and really are not too interested in coming here. I wonder why? I even have pots and pans I would let them bang on!
Happy New Year, everyone! Enjoy and please, please be safe!