“It’s not like the old days.” “It’s not the same.” “We just stay at home, nowadays.” These are the frequent phrases yours truly has heard this past week about what Maderans were going to do on New Year’s. It does seem my “old days” go back a little further every year.
I started out as a child. That meant for the first few years it was a babysitter that I begged to stay up until the unheard of hour of midnight. Later, as a young teenager, I began planning fun and mischief when I saw dad and beautiful stepmom (Gail) getting dressed in their best to go out on the town on New Year’s. In those days they were not afraid to leave me alone. However, I did nothing compared to today. However, please forgive me if I don’t go into details.
In 1966, I had been blessed as a Madera High graduate to have had teachers like the inspiring Mrs. Norma Mastin who not only opened the “doors of perception” but wedged in their foot to keep them ajar. I was off to San Francisco to learn about life. During a New Year’s Eve at the Fillmore, the sounds of the Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and the Grateful Dead, with psychedelic lights dancing around my head, I almost learned too much too fast.
Two years later, married, but overseas for almost a year, it was a somber New Year’s spent on guard duty at a little known outpost in South Korea near the demilitarized zone. The next year, I was back in the “States” and stationed at Ft. Hood, Texas. My gal, neighbors and a few army buddies brought in the year dancing to Iron Butterfly’s “In-a-gadda-da-vida” (the long version) in our small duplex just off-post in the little town of Copperas Cove...