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New Year’s Eve 1962 Editorial by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

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New Year’s Eve 1962

TICK TOCK TIME TRAVELERS_resized

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

 

A childhood memory can last a lifetime.

 

The impact of a memory can affect the way you view an issue in Life.

 

This New Year’s Eve memory provided the framework for my approach to celebrations, especially, New Year’s Eve.

 

The New Year’s Eve memory of childhood always inspired me to carry out my own memorable New Year’s Eve celebration through the years.

 

The Layout of 313

 

Opal M. DeLong Warren, a tall brunette, and my mother, stands at the sink in the kitchen washing dishes.

 

The large kitchen has cabinets against the far wall. In the center, is the small window, that looks out over the backyard to the garage.

 

Underneath the window is a counter with a double sink. It is the 1960s, so the overhead cabinets and the counter cabinets are the same type of lacquered wood.

 

The counter top is a black vinyl with short silver lines erratically positioned throughout the counter top.

 

The linoleum floor emerges from under the counter and passes under the rectangular art deco table that seats six.

 

The dividing line across the top of the table allows for a drop in leaf that allows the table to expand to accommodate more people at the table. The black vinyl counter top pattern is repeated on the table.

 

A large Lazy Susan, sits at the far end of the table, usually it just collects misplaced envelopes and entertains a child’s imagination because the two large wood disks turn.

 

The six art deco chairs match the table;however, the back and the seats are a gaudy red material held in place by silver chrome hubcap buttons around the edges of the material.

 

The table sits East to West in the North to South kitchen, The obvious emphasis of the room is on the South. All the furniture and appliances seem to move toward the far wall.

 

Behind the head chair is a smaller art deco table under a two door white metal wall mounted cabinet that doesn’t seem to belong.

 

Under the cabinet is a shorter art deco table, that’s main purpose was usually to hold the electric gray AM radio.

 

Beside the table, is the large ice box. The wooden wall by the ice box extends at least eight feet under the cathedral ceiling to the wall into the formal living room.

 

About four feet away from the door of the ice box, sits the plastic, vinyl green sofa with a pattern of repeating octagons. The sofa sits the border for the living room.

 

The Boogeyman Door

 

The distant wall contains the door in the center into the formal living room.

 

The door in that far wall was always my nemesis.

 

Once the sun, went down I would not go through that door. Somewhere in my young life, I had heard “The Story Of The Boogeyman.” I was convinced at night, the Boogeyman waited on the other side of that door, waiting for someone to turn the door knob.

 

The corner of the far wall was the most important because a nightstand table supports the black and white TV.

 

Our Cathedral Home

 

The home at 313th East 26th Street is a large white shingled house with a screened in front porch.

 

The cathedral ceilings throughout the house towered above me and always made me feel at home. The irony is I was a small boy under ceilings usually used in omnipotent structures like the Westminster Abbey.

 

A curious construction technique had several columns of concrete blocks to rest in a surrounding pattern under the house.

 

The house may have been moved to this location and the block had yet to be removed. In childhood, it was interesting to be able to look under your home.

 

However, the horizontal three-step concrete step under the screened in porch, established that the home had found a port to drop anchor and ride out Life’s storms.

 

The large house dominated the lot. A small front yard and a small back yard were connected by an extremely narrow driveway.

 

The chipped and cracked shingles of the house were evidence that a driver had to be careful driving down or backing out of the narrow driveway.

 

The large structure at the back of the yard was the two car garage that never housed more than one car. The space to the right was storage and my large wooden toy box.

 

The cyclone fence around the property established the borders. A small gate, in front of the screened in porch allowed a visitor access to the front door, which was really the back door.

 

Two small standing metal lions faced each other on the tops of the double gate that protected the driveway.

 

Down the slender driveway, about six feet from the end of the house is the slender door, which is a screen door, in front of a wood and glass door.

 

The side door seems almost an after thought. The side door opens into the kitchen. Salesmen who knocked at the front door went unanswered.

 

Sunday, December 31, 1961

 

Night is in command over Houston, Texas. “Wagon Train” or “Rawhide” is not on, so the TV blabs on unwatched.

 

I am six years old. I have no concept of New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

 

Momma washes the dishes. I sit on the floor, in front of the sofa, and play with my plastic cowboys, Indians and horses.

 

Momma and I had moved to the farm in Missouri. But, “The Dream House” dream kept us shuttling back and forth between Galena, Missouri and Houston, Texas.

 

Usually daddy came to Missouri. This year, we had celebrated Christmas in Houston and were getting ready to make the trip back to Galena, Missouri, after the New Year.

 

In Texas, when Daddy is working nights Momma would let me stay up until he comes home from his night job.

 

About 12:30 am., voices and laughter echo down the corridor outside the kitchen door. The pounding against the kitchen screen door causes momma to turn and look into the neighbor’s smiling faces.

 

Momma opens the door. Since the house is anchored on pillars of concrete blocks, people at the door stand about a foot below the entrance into the house. Thus, a visitor always has to look up at you.

 

Warrens and DeLongs are all long-legged, so stepping up to step in was never a problem.

 

The secret is the back door into the backyard and the screened-in porch door to the front yard usually got more use by the Warrens, who lived in the house.

Sunday night

and

new Year’s Eve

 

The culture of the United States has become more flexible in the area of religion through the years, but at the start of the 1960s conservative morals and ethics ruled the day, especially in the Ozarks and in the South.

 

It would be difficult to imagine that public celebrations would have been held on a Sunday, a traditionally religious day.

 

Nightclubs and bars would have had to had a celebration on Saturday, December 30, 1961 and kept their doors closed on Sunday, December 31, 1961.

 

In this era, states had “Blue Laws”, which did not allow alcohol to be sold on Sunday.

 

Of course, when you are six years old, it is just “neat” to be able to stay up until midnight.

 

 

New Year’s Well Wishers

 

Momma stands at the door talking to the festive neighbors. I naturally rush to see what is happening.

 

Thomas Jack Brinkley, in the traditional 1960s narrow lapel-ed black suit, white shirt and slender black tie, wears the black cardboard top hat bearing the silver glitter words: Happy New Year. He looks up and wishes momma, “A Happy New Year.”

 

He hugs his wife, Wanda. She is a statuesque redhead in a sequined midnight blue cocktail dress. Her hair is up. The cardboard silver glitter tiara brandishes : Happy New Year. Wanda’s red hair outshines the tiara.

 

Standing on the driveway, they look up and wish momma, “A Happy New Year.” Then, then launch into a detailed account of the evening’s exploits.

 

Tom worked for “Ma Bell”, the telephone company. Since December 31 fell on a Sunday, they must have came to our house from an office New Year’s Party.

 

Tom’s arm at the back of his wife emerges and grips a huge champagne bottle. Two plastic upturned champagne glasses dangle from Tom’s other hand.

 

My mind recorded the smiles, enthusiasm, joy, happiness and the waves of emotion that rippled forth, while Tom and Wanda told momma about their New Year’s Eve celebration.

 

My Challenge

 

When I became a young man and could celebrate my own New Year’s Eve, I always remembered Tom and Wanda in their New Year’s Eve attire and the enthusiasm they exhibited to welcome in the new year in style.

 

Likewise, I always attempted to embody the zeal, zest and optimistic enthusiasm that they displayed in their celebration.

 

Through the years, I’m confident I have met, and, perhaps exceeded, their level of celebration energy.

 

The lesson I learned is the beginning of a year should always be a monumental event. A monumental event always creates a memory.

 

The outcome of how the monumental event effects you depends on the energy, effort and dedication that you put into the event. The result is you end up with a positive or a negative memory.

 

In youth, New Year’s Eve celebrations seem to be celebrated with “A Spirit Of Wild Abandon.”

 

The World At Large has changed since the 1970s. Now, there are rules and consequences to partying and celebrations.

 

Celebrations overall are more toned down, less impulsive and spontaneous. In the US, cities make it a point to organize New Year’s Eve celebrations that they can control.

 

Future generations will learn to “party” and “celebrate” within a more reserved set of social guidelines.

The emphasis on global terrorism and security have done much to implement controls over public celebrations.

 

The change might not be a bad idea. Nonetheless, New Year’s Eve should always be considered monumental.

 

In my guru years, I observe the celebrations. I watch the youth take center stage. The unknown expectations of the future still seem to remain in the hopes and dreams of youth. The masses on television still exude the exuberance of hope in front of the TV cameras.

 

Celebrations’ Considerations

 

I have switched the tiny bubbles of sweet champagne for cold bottles of rum.

 

Alas, I still believe the spirit of most celebrations usually involves a certain amount of distilled spirits.

 

Experience reminds you to be responsible and aware in your use of distilled spirits.

 

Monumental Moment

 

The New Year should always be heralded as a monumental moment to set the tone of the days to unfold. Each New Year’s Eve celebration should be a positive memory maker.

 

When my New Year’s Eve event approaches, I always see Thomas Jack and Wanda Brinkley in their New Year’s Eve attire smile in my memory and I am ready to celebrate and face The New Year.

Sam

TICK TOCK TIME TRAVELERS THUMBNAIL

 

Links

 

New Year’s Eve

In The

United States

Time date.com

http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/new-year-eve

 

His dates.com

http://www.hisdates.com/years/1961-historical-events.html

 

New Year On The Net

http://www.holidays.net/newyear/dates.htm

 

New Year’s History History.Com

http://www.history.com/topics/new-years

 

Historical Events

December 31st

History Orb

http://www.historyorb.com/events/december/31

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.
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