I always eagerly anticipated New Year celebrations as a young girl. We often celebrated at home as a family—my parents, my younger brother, and me. My mother created several alluring and memorable child-centric rituals which our family enjoyed over the years. One such tradition was watching a blockbuster movie in theaters. A big movie-going family, it was natural to take advantage of the fact that movies often debuted during the end-of-year holiday season. Weeks before the big night out, we’d discuss which movie would be our New Year’s Eve entertainment.
In 1972, we watched “The Poseidon Adventure” in which a 90-foot wave crashes into a luxury cruise ship. It left a hauntingly powerful impression because the climax of the film takes place on New Year’s Eve, which I thought was both eerie and cool as the clock was about to strike the New Year in a couple of hours. In one memorable scene from the film, Maureen McGovern belts out the theme song, “The Morning After.” The song made me sob in the theater on that New Year’s Eve—I was and still am a big crier at the movies. The song soared to the top of the charts and was named best song at the Academy Awards. I sang that song for years. I’m still singing it, as you can hear from the video below…
We also saw a lot of James Bond films together including “The Spy Who Loved Me” in which Carly Simon—one of my two musical role models—captivated audiences everywhere with her rendition of “Nobody Does It Better.”
After the movie on New Year’s Eve, we’d have a special family meal in the dining room with lots of hors d’oeuvres and kid-friendly foods. I spent considerable time expressing my creativity by arranging bite-size desserts on a platter, a job for which my mother had cleverly convinced me that I excelled. We got to stay up late watching the ball drop in Times Square, sipping sparkling apple cider as we screamed “Happy New Year!” Family legend has it that, when I was a toddler learning to talk, I’d say “Happy Junior” instead of “Happy New Year.” My parents always gently ribbed me about that for years.
One of my favorite childhood New Year rituals actually happened days before the calendar turned to a new year. As I got older, I was mesmerized by the concept of the passage of time—how in one minute you were standing in one year and, the next, you had arrived in a brand new year. On the last day of school, I’d tell all my friends and teachers, “See you next year!” I thought it was hilarious and ironic since next year was only a matter of days away.
This New Year, I hope you enjoy your festivities and spend some time appreciating what was good in the past year, honoring or recognizing your tender heart for what was difficult and painful, and taking some time to imagine a best possible future for you, your loved ones, and the world. I’ll be going to the movies with my beloved husband and then come home to a cozy feast of yummy foods and sparkling cider. Maybe we’ll still be awake at 11:50 to walk onto the beach and watch the fireworks from the Fontainebleau Hotel, a few blocks from our apartment. I hear that Cardi B is performing this year.
Happy Junior! I mean, New Year!
I’m sending you strength and love,