Freezing - just freezing - and we were delighted! In a few hours, it would be 1966, temperatures around 30F, with significant wind chill that year, made no impression on us !
He and I were in love! We laughed, thrilled with any excuse to hug close. And so the weather was our friend, as we emerged from the parking garage. The weather only added to the excitement of the evening and the thrill of being at New Year's Eve Headquarters at Times Square in New York City !
We'd earned the break! Both of us had been intent on winning our gold stars all along. Now, his first college done, and with the promise that he'd be working to get rid of the killer chemical, Agent Orange in Viet Nam, his military duty began: Basic Training almost finished for him and on to special chemical training, then Officers Candidate School, after the holiday leave. And for me, younger, a student break-time from college, and job and happy to be hosting MY soldier at my parents home, most welcome by all. Christmas in Connecticut was the best and now Times Square in our best city evening attire. Yes!
So far, it had been a happy holiday in spite of the dangers ahead. Whatever it was, we knew it was our time, our game and we'd win thru anything on Earth or in Heaven. We really believed that ! I still feel that the right kind of love, one that feeds the life lights, and improves the drive for life, always makes the right kind of difference. There was nothing witheld in love and commitment and best integrity and now this glamorous night was ours!
Tearing along the pavement, the glow now warming us as we actualized our plan. There would be dinner, champagne and music and then back on the run, to the best spot for the view in Times Square, for the landing of the New Year's Ball !
1966 , we are here and we are ready! It may be war out there, but to us, it's about life !
We did not plan on the cold and so we talked more and walked a bit faster than the dreamy tourist-y stroll we had in mind! At one point he joked about our pace being brisk and we began to sing "We're off to see the Wizard" together, and even did the skipping dance for a few seconds, to dramatize our pace - then more laughter. Later in our marriage, "off to see the Wizard" became our code for any need for extra caution or push or special consultation - and would give us a winning smile in a difficult moment.
That night - it evolved as symbolic in many ways: Yes it was cold and dark - chilling to the bone if not dealt with - and again we felt fully confident that we'd win through because the dark and cold were broken by the lights of love, inspiration, action, friends and more ! And, though we were of the age to focus on perfect self-reliance, there were also our saints and angels.
We gazed intently at one another and kept up the brisk pace, with added powers and understanding. Exhilarating ! I was so glad to be there and with HIM and no one else! When you are in love, with a person, idea or life in general - challenge is an opportunity !
Navigating the density of the crowd, alone, was quite the thing to experience "for real" ! It was nothing like the like the television coverage of the night - nothing like the view from a warm sofa, as a home audience.
They say everyone should visit Times Square at New Years Eve once in their lifetime. Ohhhh, YES!
The air, the night, the sounds and the crowd! We immersed - we were one with the ocean of souls. All sorts of people in the full range of dress: casual , formal and costumes - the big googly glasses were fairly innovative that year, and so many having fun with the "Merch" of the evening! We only wanted US, but I think we bought something for souvenir.
(Will this story GET there? I am doing it to you it on purpose, gentle readers...waiting is maddening, no? )
It was still early and ducking in and out of the crowd, we danced along now, on with our evening.
En route to our restaurant, we encountered a man lying against a building wall, possibly not sober, probably a homeless man, judging by his soiled, inadequate clothing and unshaven looks. Dressed to the nines, my husband-to-be and myself were quite the contrast and paused, ready to help him to warmth and some cash. For a number of reasons, social consciousness had recently been brought to life and was growing. And so we stopped and assessed and thought what to do. This was the prosperous sixties - most out-of-towners never saw anyone so afflicted. We were sad and wanted to help, but a NYPD policeman approached to take over, and so we went on, reassured and at peace about it.
Dinner was grand ! Music, warm hearth, champagne and hot food, were twice as fine, after the chilly outdoor trek getting there! The place was chosen by him for their famous Prime Rib, his favorite. Of course, Sole Chemise en Blouse for the lady - the rule at that time.
Pleased. We relaxed and glowed and yet, we were ready to move on, when it was time, because it was nearing THAT time - the suspense was as delicious as the meal !
Nearing midnight December 31, 1965 !
Now truly on the quest, we dashed once more, toward the Square and "The Moment" - the noise was WONDERFUL! and then the countdown:
"Ten ! Nine ! Eight ! Seven ! Six ! Five ! Four ! Thuuureee ! ahhhh-Two ! OOOOOONE !!!! .... HAPPPPPY NEW YEAR !!!! "
All these years later and such good years -
and widowed and recovered long ago, it remains a treasure to remember our own Times Square New Year Kiss!
A new year and at Times Square with the longed-for Handsome Prince at my side and I at his!
A new year and feeling empowered for it!
We kissed again! And many around us doing the same!
A new year, not without challenge but without real fear!
I don't even remember the trip home - we held on to that moment and cherished it along till it eventually faded on its own. That was one lifesaver we would never bite!
It was a grand way to begin a grand year and a few months later we were officially engaged and that Christmas, married! Feeling we'd done it right, so far, and happy to do more of the same forever together!
May it be so for you, now and always!
Happy New Year!