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Merry Christmas: Have You Written Your New Year's Resolutions Yet?

Local author Laura Hinds shares some of her childhood New Year's Resolutions and other memories from Auld Lang Syne's past.

2011 is right around the corner. Have you listed your resolutions yet?  Are you staying up until midnight to ring in the New Year?

I've given up the ghost on writing resolutions, but for many years I dutifully made a list and tried to keep to it. Here is a sampling of some of the New Year's Resolutions I made over and over in the 1970s and seldom (if ever) managed to stick to:

  • I will go to school every day and will not invent mystery a illness to stay home and watch soap operas and read.
  • I will not use the same excuses to skip gym class.
  • I will try to figure out some new reasons to skip gym class.
  • I will not borrow my friend Wendy's "Nancy Drew" books and try to keep them by telling my mother that Wendy doesn't take good care of books so I must keep them safe from her.
  • I will not exceed the limit on library books I can borrow by asking my mother to take half of them out on her card. Even though she doesn't mind.
  • I will try to enjoy going outside to play with other kids at least twice.
  • When I go with Mom to the office while she types her newspaper column I will not make suggestions as to what she should write about. Nor will I correct her spelling.

Once the resolutions were dealt with, it was time to enjoy New Year's Eve. When I was growing up here in Danvers, my favorite part of New Year's Eve was having takeout Chinese food to snack on all evening. We didn't have a family sit down meal; we just filled our plates with egg rolls and rice and topped it off with fortune cookies, each of us eating when we wanted and going back for seconds or thirds during the course of the evening.

I don't recall any particular New Year's Eve events in Danvers, but an old friend tells me a lot of people went to the Danversport Yacht Club on New Year's Eve. Then in 1976, when the city of Boston first held First Night Celebrations, many folks attended those festivities.

My parents had me rather late in life and neither of them particularly cared about staying up to watch the ball drop in Times Square. As a result, I don't think I ever saw the event until I was about 11-years-old and deemed grown up enough to stay up and watch "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" myself.

I remember pangs of envy directed towards friends from school whose parents went out to New Year's Eve parties, leaving a teenage girl to babysit. Invariably, said teenage girl would find a way for a teenage boy to visit for a midnight kiss. If the kiss turned into a midnight make-out session, the kids of the house not only got to watch Dick Clark, they might even have a few sips of sparkling cider.

One year, some boys I knew regaled the neighborhood kids with stories of how woozy they got from these stolen sips. Finally, one of the older guys, probably all of 12, burst out laughing and then burst their bubbles by explaining that sparkling cider contains no alcohol and they not only hadn't gotten drunk they hadn't pulled anything over on their parents or their otherwise occupied babysitter!

Turning back to Dick Clark, it was Dec. 31 in 1972 that he hosted the first "New Year's Rockin' Eve" on NBC. The first time I saw "New Year's Rockin' Eve" would have been Dec. 31, 1974, and the guests that year were Olivia Newton John, The Doobie Brothers, Herbie Hancock, The Beach Boys and Chicago. 

Do you have any special memories of how you celebrated New Year's Eve in Danvers over the years?  

From my home to yours, we hope you have a Merry Christmas and wish you a Happy New Year!

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