Holding fast to the old and ringing in the new

Over New Year’s, my worlds collided in the most spectacular way.

We hosted our group of friends who have rung in the New Year together (in various iterations) for the past 8 years.  Our god-daughter (at whose wedding I will officiate this year) joined us this year and made a DELICIOUS confection that made me wonder anew why she is a lawyer and not a baker.  So, our nuclear family was complete (except for her partner who was stuck in THE HEARTLAND).

So, it would seem that it couldn’t get better than this.  And you’re right.  Except people from those dear, sweet (and sometimes naughty) childhood summers also guest starred.

First, a day before New Year’s.  This person is a dear friend (her handle is Janet2) whom I never see and yet to whom I feel bound in this deep abiding way, so much so that if she showed up on my doorstep, penniless, I would take her in, without a question. Maybe because she and her three sisters (one of blessed memory) and my sister and I shared summers — among us all — for maybe 18 years. Maybe also because her father and my uncle served and were scarred in the War together and her parents (now her mother) have been a part of my extended family all my life.  Maybe it is just, that deep down, there is just a connection that doesn’t need to be explained.

So, my friend is now a really big-deal in the music industry (and if she isn’t, I don’t care, because she is to me) and under the guise of a “family that plays music together, stays together” sent us the hugest package I have ever seen, with two Wii guitars, microphone and drum set.  Now I know she thinks I am this really successful lawyer, but it was hell to find a storage space for all of this because we live in a lovely box in New York City — but a box, nevertheless.  (We don’t have a suburban den, Janet2.)  We will discuss this more in depth as the story progresses.  (We do have storage for it, thank G-d.)

Then, because there are only two degrees of separation among Jewish lesbians, a friend called to say that they were coming with one more person for New Year’s and that person knows me from Camp Wingate!!!  Another person from camp in two days?  The circles of life about which we sang around the Saturday night camp fire are now creeping me out.

Of course, I remember this person, who shows up at my door essentially 30 years later and who looks EXACTLY the same (except, sweetie, the gray roots were showing and only someone-who-know-you-when can tell you this).  Almost exactly, except that she wasn’t wearing the Gilligan-like hat that she wore every day one summer as she walked around making wry and far-too-insightful-for-a-ten-year-old comments about the life unfolding before her eyes.  It also turns out we both had strangely close, yet chaste, relationships with the same women.  But that will be for another blog entry.

So we rang in the New Year, with family and old friends and even older friends (I include the box of Wii stuff as a stand-in for Janet2).  But not before I shilled for HOSOB.  He is a painter and we are determined that his fame not be posthumous.  So, I had him prepare cards with his watercolor of SOPOBAB with an indricotherium (sp?) (from the Extreme(ly Ugly) Mammals show at the Natural History Museum) as a sample of what he could do for those of our party with children.  No studio pictures, please.  Instead, watercolors courtesy of HOSOB.  I really put on the hard sell.   I poured it on thick.  My house, my Tupperware party.  So, eat our delicious food (courtesy of POB) and drink our wine but listen to my shpiel.

Happily, we were all of an age where we struggle to stay awake until midnight and everyone wants to get home almost immediately afterward.   We had dear friends and their kids sleep over that night (who can find a sitter on New Year’s Eve?).  One of our friends is very technically adept so when the kids woke up at 7am, she got to work on setting up the Wii extravaganza courtesy of Janet2.  By noon, SOS was mastering the drums, our friends had a guitar each and I was on vocals.

What I didn’t know is that after the song (from the Beatles greatest hits), the Wii grades your performance.  I figured that, not wanting to alienate users, Wii might stop with “Don’t quit your day job.”  But no, my vocals were such that I got “human? If so, an abomination.” Don’t worry, Janet2, if you appear on my doorstep, I will take you in AND I will not sing to you because you don’t need to go even lower emotionally.  But since you seem happy now, I may send you a tape of my performance.  I am way worse than Bob Dylan or Elvis Costello, but their voices also suck.  And, I can do a mean impression of both especially Elvis Costello when he looks like he has to pee and is holding it in.

So, let’s sing together the old camp fire song, “make new friends, but the old, one is silver and the other’s gold.”  (http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/lyrics/makenew.htm).  And those of our childhood are like priceless gems.

Pearl Wolfson, thanks is not enough.