I am not a party animal and that’s putting it mildly. I went to a couple of birthday parties as a child and couldn’t seem to deal with them at all. I think it was the party pieces that got to me, but I’m not even sure if that was it.
There was, however, one party in my life that was heaven. It was when I was thirteen and we had it in the basement of our house – a big bank house – on New Year’s Eve.
The preparations that went into that event were unbelievable and the bits I remember most were my brother and I painting some light bulbs red. How we didn’t set the place on fire with them is still a mystery. There was also the putting up of posters around the old stone walls. Jimi Hendrix is the one stands out in my mind.
The music blasted out from our record player and maybe someone had a speaker -though I can’t recall speakers being much of a thing for home music back then. The main thing was the music played all night and we danced and danced. All my ‘wallflower’ fears seemed to leave me that evening, probably because I knew all the ‘guests.’
Neil Diamond, The Beatles and, of course, I’ve Been to the Desert on a Horse with No Name’ played as the red lights glowed and I felt all grown up in my bell-bottomed trouser suit. I can still see Big Bro with tinsel around his neck. I thought he was cooler than cool as he bopped towards midnight.
We counted down to the New Year, sang Auld Lang Syne and then a boy who I really fancied gave me a New Year’s kiss that has remained stored in my heart all these years. I wonder whatever became of him!
Mother and Father were upstairs throughout all this and Mother provided us all with food and soft drinks without seeming to have any presence in the crowded room.
No party could ever surpass that one – I knew it that night and I still believe it was beyond special. As we approach New Year tonight, sweet memories from that year will come flooding back along with lots of others.