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Howling at the Moon

You may remember my earlier post about my teenage slumber parties, but those weren’t the only ones. Two are pictured from my elementary school years—New Year’s Eve parties in 1956 and 1957.

The photos from the first party, when I was 11, show five of us performing stunts in the living room, making a pyramid with the two smallest girls standing on the backs of us bigger ones on the bottom.  This was probably the idea of the girl who later became a cheerleader. Meanwhile, the future Homecoming Queen was on the bottom with me and Bonnie, the daughter of the football coach next door.

Another photo shows six of us, paired off, dancing in our pajamas.

Later we’re reading comic books, 3 to a double bed, anything but sleepy.

The last photo, at midnight, shows us outside, ringing in the new year. Bonnie is holding a school bell while the rest of us have pots and pans and I even have a whistle in my mouth. Back in middle America, we knew nothing of the ball dropping in Times Square. We used big spoons to bang pots, while some people even fired shot guns. Sorry about the quality of the picture, but that's what you got by trying to take a photo outside with a flash attachment in the 1950s.

Apparently we had a good time, since the same crew returned for the 1957 party. After the obligatory pyramid pose, we’re sitting at the table in our jammies, eating up a storm. There’s a Pepsi bottle in front of each of us, with a loaf of Bunny Bread on the table while my friend Sharon makes herself a sandwich, probably of my mom’s homemade Ham Salad. The rest of us have sandwiches to our faces as we try to smile and eat at the same time. 

The last photo is labeled “The Morning After,” and we all look hungover. A bowl of scrambled eggs and a tray of sweet rolls sit on the table and there’s not one smile on a face. In fact, some of us (especially me) barely have our eyes open. This suggests we stayed up half the night telling ghost stories or gossiping about the other kids at school, but that’s part of the fun, right?

What people in their right minds would give up two New Year’s Eves in a row to let their kid entertain her friends?  Short answer:  my long-suffering parents.

The prospect of exciting (and I use the term loosely) New Year’s Eves was almost too much to bear for us Old School types. 


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